October 2, 2014 by Samuel Horstman, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University alumni are raising the bar when it comes to the products they develop through Studio G, the student business incubator at Arrowhead Center, by creating a new line of handmade soaps using goat’s milk.
Chico Farm, a livestock farm located in Mesquite, N.M., was started by NMSU civil engineering graduate Daniel Hartell and anthropology graduate student Norma Hartell. The name “Chico” comes from one of the dogs that the couple owns.
“I have always been interested in farming and livestock raising, and so it sort of just developed organically,” Daniel said. “Ultimately, we hope to be able to use intensive farming techniques to develop a small farm that produces a wide variety of products using responsible and humane methods.”
At the farm, the couple raises Nubian milk goats, chickens, fruit trees and vegetables. Currently they are working on developing a system for vegetable and fruit production and hope to have vegetables for sale next year. One of the farm’s popular and distinctive items is the soap made using milk from the Nubian goats, which they are calling “Dan’s Nans Goat Milk Soap.”
“Adding goat’s milk to soap creates a bar that is creamy and silky as well as beneficial for skin health,” Daniel said. “We did not have the money necessary to comply with all of the regulations regarding the sale of goat’s milk for consumption, so we started looking for alternatives. We decided to try making soap and discovered that we enjoyed it.”
Chico farm was launched through support from Studio G, the first university student business incubator in New Mexico.
“Arrowhead has been able to help us by being a place that we can go to get any kind of advice on anything from label design to material acquisition or even just ideas for new soap varieties,” Daniel said. “They have also helped us by doing research on things such as potential markets, laws or regulations regarding soap manufacturing, and potential farmers markets and whole foods stores that may carry our product.”
Studio G was created in 2011 to develop energized, connected and creative student startup companies. NMSU students and alumni who graduated in the last five years may apply to Studio G.
“Chico Farm is a great example of the range of clients that can benefit from working with Studio G,” said Kramer Winingham, a program manager for Arrowhead Center who helps students start businesses through Studio G. “They started with a great product, we provided guidance to improve marketing and promotion, and their company has done very well.”
For more information on Chico Farm or to purchase handmade goat’s milk soaps, visit http://www.chicofarmnm.com. Other items provided by the farm are also available for purchase at the Mesilla Farmers Market.