Being a farmer allows Chase Hudson to spend more quality time with his daughter, Josie. She enjoys helping feed the goats hay.

SCOUTING AROUND: Skyline Dairy expands reach of its products

   While working in the food industry for 10 years, Chase Hudson was always jealous of the farmers who would come in to deliver their products.
    “It seemed like they had the right end of the job,” Hudson said.
    Then his daughter was born three years ago, and his desire to work from home grew. Within a year, he was moving his family from Asheville to a farm in Cherokee County and starting a new career.
    Becoming a farmer wasn’t a far-fetched idea for Hudson, who has also lived in Charlotte and Florida- his grandfather was a cattle farmer, and he had experience helping him.
    “So I wasn’t intimidated,” he said.
    Today, Skyline Dairy is growing quickly, as Hudson promotes his initial product, Goat’s Milk & Shea Butter Hydrating Body Lotion.     Throughout this month, Skyline Dairy was one of 77 businesses with vintage and handmade products featured at the Vintage Charlotte Pop at Latta Arcade in uptown Charlotte.
    Hudson first applied for a different pop-up market Vintage Charlotte runs, but the dairy was selected to place products at this holiday market one instead. As it was a local and regional event, not many businesses were from outside the Charlotte area.
    “I’m definitely representing the westernmost region,” he said.
    Hudson thinks his story of revitalizing the once cattle dairy into a goat farm, as well as the uniqueness of his product, got Skyline Dairy in the pop-up shop that was open from Dec. 9-21.
    So far, with help from programs for new farmers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hudson has revitalized seven of the 11 acres and has a starter goat herd living in what was the chicken coop. He is working on refurbishing the creamery and adding a commercial kitchen so he can reach his ultimate goal- making food from goat’s milk in addition to skin care products.
    For now, Hudson just has the lotion in six different scents, using essential oils he gets from the Whole Store in Murphy. Starting with lotion was an idea he got from a consultant. He had also seen someone selling goat’s milk lotion at a farmers market.
    “I thought it was really unique,” he said.
    The monetary return on lotion is much faster than on bar soap. Bar soap has to cure for weeks, and he has bars waiting to be his next product. Hudson wants to expand to other products, like liquid soap and shave cream, pretty much anything that can be made with a base of goat’s milk.
    “Milk in general has been used in therapy for generations,” he said. “With the base of goat’s milk, you are really healing your skin.”
    Bar soap isn’t the only new thing planned for the new year. Hudson is in the final stages of a new product label design for Skyline Dairy products. In February, he plans to buy more female goats to his herd. And, he hopes to add wholesale accounts that would put Skyline Dairy products in well-known stores.
    “That would be a game-changer,” he said.
He has a lot of confidence he can meet the demand- out of a gallon of milk, he said he can produce 80 units. He sees himself being able to produce 400 units each week.
    As of now, lotion can be purchased on Skyline Dairy’s website, skylinedairy.com, as well as at Mountain Valley Bakery and Gift Shop on Old U.S. 64 in Brasstown. The lotion also is available in Blairsville at General Supply Inc. and in Asheville at Villagers.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.