Goats Provide Lifeline Through Soaps, Comfort
Through the significant physical and financial stumbling blocks Raina and Corey Hammond have faced in the past years, the goats of Luna Sage Acres Farm have been there to comfort and calm them.
“I think these animals are very therapeutic,” Raina said of her herd of handsome Nubian and dwarf goats.
Raina, an occupational therapist with Health First, is combating the return of metastatic melanoma and continues to work through cancer treatment.
Corey has also had his share of health problems, with seizures that began after a scooter accident in 1997, when he was a junior in high school. As the years rolled by, the seizures worsened. His degree in finance helped get him jobs, but seizures prevented him from doing his work.
The University of Florida graduate became a stay-at-home dad for the couple’s daughter, Aila, despite seizures that made the Hammond’s West Melbourne farm a familiar destination for Brevard rescue crews.
“We had to do something different,” Raina said.
In 2013, UF Health neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Roper removed a segment of Corey’s temporal lobe to stem the seizures. Treatment has worked, but Corey is at times challenged when trying to find the right words and cannot multitask. Employment seemed out of the question, until he started making goat milk soap.
“He didn’t want disability,” Raina said.
Through word of mouth, the Hammonds’ business, SoapFromGoats.com, has garnered customers from around the nation. Corey fashions the soaps at the 12-acre Luna Sage Acres Farm in a process that can take as long as six weeks. The rich, luscious milk that gives the soap its distinctive characteristics comes straight from the Hammonds’ goats. Raina calls it “the soap that makes your skin smile.”
Corey depends on three base recipes that include abundant natural glycerin, essential oils and other natural ingredients in a cold process method that requires weeks to age. In addition to the online business, the soaps are available at Malabar Feed Store, Paradise Health Food Store in West Melbourne, Bayside Lakes Family Pharmacy and Let’s Plant It in downtown Melbourne.
Michelle Allen has depended on the soap for years.
“It is really the only soap I use because it doesn't dry out my skin,” the Melbourne resident said. “I love the goat soap smells and visiting Corey, Raina and Aila at their farm. I even got to help deliver three baby goats once, which was very exciting.”
For Jean Curran of Satellite Beach, Luna Sage Acres soaps are always on the holiday gift list.
“It’s my go-to gift for teachers at Christmas and they love it,” Curran said. “I’ve tried different goat milk soaps, and Luna Sage Acres is the best. My daughter uses the charcoal one for her oily skin; and a friend of mine says it's the only soap that clears up his eczema.”
As good as the products are, the soap business is, at least for the moment, not a huge money-maker. But it does bring income to feed the farm residents, which, in addition to the goat herd, include 10 hens that produce an abundance of fresh eggs, a horse, a Labrador retriever and an Australian shepherd.
Aila, now 12, has grown up amidst this delightful cadre of critters.
“She doesn’t realize not all kids live on a farm,” her mom said.
While Aila may take the farm for granted, her mom has always appreciated the blessings of rural living.
“I’ve always had a passion for farming,” she said.
The goats came into the picture courtesy of the horse Raina brought to Melbourne after graduating from the University of Florida.
“I moved from college with the horse and I knew the horse needed a companion, but I couldn’t afford to buy another horse,” she said. “I was told that goats made good companions and they don’t cost as much to keep.”
A couple of goats eventually became 20 before Raina sold some to give the couple a little breathing room with their health problems. The herd provides the family with healthful milk and soap, and with plenty of goat antics. The animals are not high-maintenance and their friendly and curious nature make for good pets… and yoga companions.
Before the pandemic, Luna Sage Acres goats were popular among yogis looking for an infusion of silliness and fun to the meditative character of the practice, then that all stopped. But look soon for the goats to return as part of events hosted by Soulshine Wellness Retreats.
There is much to love about goats, as Raina Hammond will tell you. One of the oldest domesticated species in the world, goats were being herded as far back as 9,000 years ago. Like dogs, they can be taught their names and to come when called, and they enjoy attention and affection from their humans.
Their unusual eyes allow them to see up to 340 degrees around without having to move.
“They’re incredible animals,” Raina said.
Luna Sage Acres Farms
Soulshine Wellness Retreats
Offers rest and rejuvenation in a beautiful, serene environment. Clients customize the experience to facilitate peace and joy through yoga, acupuncture, massage, juicing, and excursions in nature like goat yoga, beach yoga, kayaking, and biking.