Small Acre Farm, handmade & meticulously crafted for you
Date Posted: 08/30/2016 | By: Courtney
Small Acre Farm is a one of a kind farm. Specializing in goat milk soap, everything they create is handmade and meticulously crafted, and of course, farm fresh. Meet Tedi Jansen, her animals, and find out the story behind this one of a kind place.
Us: So I understand you got away from the daily grind of the desk job to start Small Acre Farm. How was the transition? Was it hard going from a working job to the unknown?
TeDi: I’d been making soap from our goat milk for a few years and had done a season of farmers markets when I lost my job. It was definitely scary for us financially but I’m a much happier person and really love what I do now.
Us: Were there any obstacles you faced?
TeDi: Like a lot of creatives who work for themselves, I struggle with time management. I want to do and make it all and I just can’t. This year I am on a better schedule and working on quarterly product roll outs so I am balancing production and creation time better.
Finances are tight and we have a college freshman this year. I’ve learned to appreciate what I have in a whole different way. We’ve always approached our farm plan with both eyes on sustainability and we’ve made some hard decisions like selling the horses and gifting the alpacas in order to do right by the animals that support our business.
Us: Do you have any words of wisdom for others looking to follow their dream away from their daily grind?
TeDi: I think being prepared to make that jump is an elusive dream. If I had made the choice on my own I never would have done it. I’ve met the most wonderful people and discovered a creative side I never would have uncovered. You can’t fly unless you take the leap (or someone gives you a good shove)!
Us: What have been some of Small Acre Farms greatest successes?
TeDi: During that first year of farmers markets I was approached for a wholesale account. I had been thinking about it but, again, didn’t think I was “ready”. That request kicked me into gear in a whole new direction and continues to be one of our best accounts.
Another really awesome thing that happened was a chance meeting with a senior marketing student from CSU at a Valentine market I did a couple of years ago. That amazing young woman adopted our business as her senior leadership project. She helped me rebrand, created our wonderful website and taught me about marketing, SEO… She is a very talented wedding photographer and she took the product and animal shots, made the “Goat to Soap” video that is featured on our website about page and has become a very dear friend.
Us: Do you have a favorite part of the business that you run?
TeDi: There is so much I love about what I do. Morning chore time with all the animals really puts me in a great place for the rest of my day. I love making soap, especially when I am creating something new. My deepest passion is the fiber. I love to touch it on the sheep, painstakingly pick through the fleece after it is sheared. I don’t even mind the washing which smells a lot like wet sheep! I do all the carding and then spinning, felting, or knitting. I can’t even describe what it’s like to run my fingers through the still warm, just sheared fleece and dream about what it will become… The whole process is such a glorious tactile experience. Oops, I’m drooling!
Us: Do you have any future dreams for Small Acre Farms?
TeDi: I have a couple of goals for the coming year. I would really like to promote our fiber products better and to a bigger audience. Homegrown fiber is alive in such an exciting way and I’d love for it to be accessible to local makers – weavers, spinners, knitters… Farmer’s markets aren’t the best venue for one of a kind handspun yarn and raw fiber so I am working on promoting those products through our website and Etsy store as well as artisan fairs.
My other big dream is to have our great soap be an option in a regular grocery store, not just specialty shops and natural grocers. Most folks are conscious now about what they put in their bodies but what goes on their bodies is equally important. I’d love to see that option on the shelves of a regular grocery store so it was available in the market off season and wouldn’t require a special trip to purchase.
Us: So, how many animals do you have exactly? Do they each serve a purpose and have a job?
TeDi: We have 3 dogs, 10 sheep, 2 llamas, 8 goats, 15 chickens, 2 pigs, and 2 cats. We had a litter of 10 puppies this spring and there are three still left on the farm.
Two of the dogs, Tuck and Tilly are English Shepherds. They are chore helpers, manage mice and rabbits on the farm and alert us when people come to the farm. Gunther, a Maremma, is our livestock guardian dog. He keeps all the animals safe from coyotes and anything bigger that might wander on to the property. The llamas primary job is to guard the sheep but we use their fiber as well.
We have a spinners herd of sheep. That means that their sole function is to grow their fleece to be sheared. I have a new ram this year and am very excited about the lambs that will be born next spring.
Three of our goats, Nola, Cowgirl and Camilla are being milked right now. Laine and Laurel will be bred in the fall and join the milking string next spring. Milano and India are kids from this year and have another year to grow before they are bred.
The pigs take care of all that extra milk we have. I love knowing where my food comes from and how the animals were raised and our pigs and chickens are a great example of humanely raised livestock.
Us: What types of products do you offer?
TeDi: We make a variety of goat milk soaps from everyday use to shave and shampoo bars, plus our signature “Goat in a Coat” felted soap bars. Our goat milk lotion is probably our best seller. The response to it has been amazing! We also have a line of natural laundry products including laundry butter, coconut stain sticks and dryer balls. On the fiber side I have handspun yarn, both raw, washed and prepared fiber for spinners. I also make felted and knitted items, mostly for the holiday season. Right now I am working on some gnome ornaments that double as wine toppers.
Us: How did you find Leapin’ Lizard Labels? How has it been? Is there anything we can do to help you out further?
TeDi: A friend, Melissa Elmore Davis, shared a post of yours on FB and it caught my eye. I saw the wonderful labels you were making for her business and just knew you all were the one for me. It’s been awesome! Everybody has been so nice and patient with me as I labor over even the simplest decisions about my labels. Cody checks on me regularly at the markets to see how I’m doing. The labels are wonderful and recognizable. Our customers love them. I couldn’t be happier unless someone could just make the decisions for me!
Us: Where can customers find you and your products?
TeDi: Customers can find our products at:
~ Jax Outdoor/Ranch and Home – all Colorado locations
~ The Publick House – Fort Collins
~ Lambspun – Fort Collins
~ Blackland Mens Store – Fort Collins
~ Distinctively Colorado – Estes Park
~ Period Six Studio – Golden
~ Larimer County Farmers Market – Saturday mornings in Fort Collins
~ Fort Collins Farmers Market – Sunday midday in Fort Collins
~ Jefferson Park Farm and Flea – Monthly Saturday in Denver
~ Horseshoe Market – Quarterly market in Denver
Thank you Tedi!