Baby goats clamor for John Palacino’s¬†attention as he stands outside a fence on a farm in Travelers Rest.¬†Rachel Palacino presses her face into baby goat¬†Ella’s¬†side.
The baby goats of Double Blessing Farm, separated from their mothers at birth, are like family to the Palacinos and¬†grow to see the couple as their parents.¬†When the baby goats get older, they are reunited with the other goats.
Double Blessing Farm, located in Travelers Rest,¬†started with just one goat, who gave birth to the farm’s first little blessing. Now, the Palacinos have more than a dozen goats and have run the farm for 20 years.
Goats are their passion and their business. Their¬†brand of goat milk soap has made its way into stores across the country.
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It all began¬†when they realized that John Palacino was allergic to cow’s milk. Goat milk was an alternative, and¬†in 1998, they opened a Grade A dairy.
The dairy was successful locally, but the Palacinos¬†wanted¬†to figure out what to do with the excess milk. They started making lard soap, and the few people who used it really liked the way it made their skin feel.
A mutual friend suggested to a woman that she try the goat lard soap on sensitive skin. The woman had struggled to find products, and was so sensitive to certain materials and products¬†that she couldn’t even touch the packaging for most products. So¬†the Palacinos mailed¬†her some goat lard soap.
It worked for her, and they decided to create their own¬†soap recipe in an attempt to have the same positive impact on the lives of other people.
They transitioned from gifting bars of soap to friends and family¬†to the creation of Red Clay Soap. The plan was to offer¬†only five scents;¬†there are 29 online right now.¬†
They say being able¬†to offer sustainable, handmade products to their community is the most rewarding.¬†
“I think we’ve come across a recipe that’s tried and true,” Rachel Palacino said. “We’ve had it tested by the big guys.”
They do everything in-house, from the finances to the soap itself. Even though it’s time-consuming, they want to keep it that way.
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“It’s a different kind of hard, and if you like it, it makes the hard soft,” Rachel Palacino said.
People use Red Clay Soap for everything from washing their hair to shaving their legs. Some have sent reviews, now posted to the website, claiming¬†that the soap has cleared eczema when they could find no other solution.
Certain stories are dear to Rachel Palacino’s heart.
An¬†85-year-old man received a bar of Red Clay Soap as a Christmas present from his daughter. When he was close to running out, he sent the Palacinos¬†the last tiny sliver of soap wrapped in a towel and asked them¬†to identify what kind of soap it was.
He said he “couldn’t live without it,” she said.
The¬†Palacinos¬†say natural, organic ingredients make their soap distinctive.¬†They don’t even add color to the soaps to preserve the integrity of their recipe.’
Last year, the Palacinos and Double Blessing Farm moved locations. They are still in Travelers Rest, but they felt the need to downsize and also¬†wanted a location that had more space for the busloads¬†of students that often come to visit the farm.
The farm had grown to 52 goats producing 85 gallons of milk every¬†week, and the Palacinos were overwhelmed. Their farm now¬†is 4.7 acres and is home to¬†13 goats.
The Palacinos say that the smaller number makes it easier for them to keep things going with just the two of them.¬†
After moving to the new location, John Palacino did everything from rebuilding the outside staircase¬†to¬†revamping the basement space. Their entire operation is run out of this¬†425-square-foot area.
In efforts to stay true to their sustainability commitment, they hope the farm soon will run on solar power.
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The Palacinos also encourage others to interact¬†with their goats.
Greenville’s Mast¬†General Store recently hosted a baby goat day with goats from Double Blessing Farm. Customers were able to interact with the tiny creatures as¬†they shopped.
The Palacinos were at the Mast General Store¬†promoting their book,¬†Nater Tot, a story that will, “follow the adventures of Nater Tot and the animals that keep him busy on the farm.” According to Rachel, Mast¬†General is one of their biggest sellers, and the store will be carrying her first book.
Want goat milk soap or to visit the farm?
If you are¬†interested¬†in buying soap, you can visit¬†https://www.redclaysoap.com/¬†or call¬†864-834-9317.
The Palacinos also host¬†school events for kids and¬†baby goat days for adults. Baby goat day for adults¬†is designed specifically to allow adults time with the goats without feeling like they are preventing the children from playing with them