If you had to have your mouth washed out with soap, maybe Nittany View Farms handcrafted bars wouldnt be too bad.
They're made with Meyer Dairy milk, for starters, and such varieties as creamsicle and mocha look as rich as fudge.
But the soaps of farm owners Matt and Lindsay Kowalski caress skin, not taste buds, with their fragrances and oil-based scents. Besides the milk, which provides more conditioning than water, their soaps mainly use olive oil to leave skin feeling soft.
Skin being the largest organ, you've got to take care of that, Lindsay Kowalski said.
On their farm near Oak Hall, the Kowalskis also raise chickens for eggs and beef cattle, and grow vegetables. Matt Kowalskis interest in making natural soap started about a year ago, stemming from his passion for being self-sufficient and knowing the origins of his food.
But just as it's important to know what we put inside our bodies, we want to try to control what we put on them, he said in an email. (K)nowing that our soaps contain natural ingredients, without removing beneficial byproducts like glycerin, we limit our exposure to unnecessary chemicals and other fillers that most commercial manufacturers use.
Books, blogs and online articles taught the couple the basics.
Today, theyve advanced to belonging to the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild.
Soap making is remarkably simple once you understand the basics, Matt Kowalski said. The biggest challenge we have is coming up with new scents by blending different essential oils but thats a fun challenge!
All of the Nittany View Farm soaps are made from scratch and contain the same basic ingredients: olive, coconut and sunflower oils; milk; and lye.
While the lye is mixed with frozen milk, the oils are blended separately. Both mixtures are brought to roughly the same temperature before theyre combined and mixed until they reach the right consistency.
Once poured into handmade molds, the soap stays for 24 hours. Its then removed, kept for another 24 hours, cut into bars and left to cure for four weeks.
Soaps come in oatmeal milk and honey, beach breeze, sandalwood, mocha, creamsicle, citrus sensation, lavender, tea tree, spring, summer, autumn and unscented. Regular bars cost $4.50; larger ones $6.
Currently, the Kowalskis sell their soaps through their website, www.nittanyviewfarm.com
, and at the Wednesday market in Lemont and the Tuesday market in downtown State College. But they hope to find more outlets, as well as expand their line with new scents and blends.
Said Lindsay Kowalski: We've got a million things we want to try.