Got Craft: Coghlan Cottage Farm + Mercantile recycle food waste into naturally scented soaps

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      In anticipation of Got Craft?’s 10th-anniversary spring edition, taking place on May 6 and 7 at the Maritime Labour Centre (1880 Triumph Street), we’re getting to know some of the fair’s 75-plus independent designers and makers.

      Today, we meet Stacey Langford, soap-maker-in-chief of Coghlan Cottage Farm + Mercantile.

      Who are you?

      I'm Stacey Langford and I'm the mama at Coghlan Cottage Farm + Mercantile. Together with my hubby, Jeff, and our two wee ones, we farm the historic Henry Coghlan homestead just outside of Fort Langley. Five years ago, I traded in my heels, suit, and downtown office with a view for gumboots and a rundown 1892 farmhouse.

      We are slowly loving the farm back to life and I haven't looked back. It has been a mucky (sometimes tearful) but always tasty adventure. 

      On our farm, we raise Berkshire pigs, Muscovy ducks, milk goats, Icelandic sheep, and pastured eggs. We're passionately committed to thumbing our noses at industrial agriculture and reimagining what family farming can look like.

      What do you do?

      I am soap-maker-in-chief here at the farm. I also chase chickens and little people, snuggle pigs, and man our tiny front-porch general store. 

      My soap business came about because food waste really ticks me off. I was a vegetarian for many years before becoming a pig farmer, so when I learned that much of the fat from my beloved pigs was being thrown away by my customers, I couldn't bear it.

      Lard is a traditional ingredient in old-fashioned cold-process soap. When sourced from healthy pigs raised outside on a natural diet and lots of sunshine, it is incredibly nourishing for our bodies and skin. Happily, it also perfectly replaces environmentally harmful palm oil in soap formulations. 

      So now, instead of heading for the landfill, my pork customers leave their unwanted lard with me in exchange for a few bars of handmade soap. I render the lard by hand in the kitchen of our 125-year-old farmhouse. Then, together with organic oils, botanicals from the farm, and fresh raw milk from our goats, Clover, Clementine, and Lucky, I turn it into beautiful and useful soap. From trash to treasure: I think that's kind of lovely and it does my pigs proud. 

      Our soap reflects our slow lifestyle and values of the farm. It is a meditation on simplicity; there are no swirls or fancy sparkles. My bars contain only exactly what they need to make a luxurious, skin-nourishing bar of soap that will get you clean and smell beautiful doing it. Nothing more, nothing less. We use no artificial colours or fragrances, no palm oil, no preservatives or additives.

      Our bars are scented with essential oils and botanicals and coloured with natural skin-loving clays. Our commitment to waste reduction continues into our packaging which is as minimal as possible, recyclable, and avoids plastic wherever possible. 

      Our motto is "more joy, less waste". We aim to infuse joy into the necessary tasks of daily life without producing more unneeded "stuff". We do this to remind people that we don't need more to be happy, we simply need enough.

      Coghlan Cottage Farm + Mercantile also produces shave soaps and grooming products scented with ingredients like bergamot and clay sage.
      Coghlan Cottage Farm + Mercantile

      What's your favourite item you stock?

      My current favourite in our soap lineup is a new addition: our Vintage Rose body bar. It is a goat-milk soap with Australian pink clay that's scented with skin-soothing rose-geranium and lavender essential oils.

      My finicky skin just loves it. It is nice and moisturizing and the scent in the shower provides a welcome moment of calm luxury in a busy farmhouse with two young kids. 

      What products will you offer at Got Craft?

      We'll be bringing an assortment of bar soaps, shave soaps, essential oil perfumes, men's grooming items, and natural skincare products to Got Craft. We are particularly excited to unveil new additions to our popular shampoo bar line.

      We are so thrilled to see that the popularity of our solid shampoo bars show how so many people are committed to reducing their plastic footprint and are striving towards zero-waste lifestyles. Bar shampoo is great for travelling as well—simply toss a bar in your bag and you can wash your hair, yourself, even your clothes in a pinch!

      We will have new bars formulated for specific hair types as well as in new scents, including our most popular blend, True North. True North is scented with clary sage, bergamot, and citrus essential oils. It smells fresh, clean, and masculine. Our customer Marilena said, "If Justin Trudeau were chopping wood in an evergreen forest with his shirt off while holding a baby, this is what it would smell like!"

      Tickets to Got Craft? are $3 in advance online or $5 at the door. For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, click here.