It’s time to watch for the arrival of the Easter bunny. It’s also an occasion to think about how to fill a fantastic Easter basket. And while chocolate eggs and colored, hard-boiled eggs are de rigueur, one woman in Camden proves another kind of egg can be a special Easter basket treat.
Step into Megan Cafferata’s soap-making workshop in springtime and you will find her cooking up a batch of colorful egg-shaped soaps. Stacked everywhere are egg cartons laden with fragrant soaps that the owner of Sisters Soap has made. There’s even a bunny named Ginger hopping around the premises.
Those who like to buy local products will be pleased to know Cafferata uses goats’ milk from Appleton Creamery in Appleton as an ingredient in her soaps. “Goats’ milk is laden with vitamins that make it good for your skin,” she said, “and it has a very high fat content that is useful in soap-making, too.”
Cafferata gets the goats’ milk from her sister Cait Hunter, who owns Appleton Creamery. In fact, the notion of making soap was something the two sisters initially tried together, before Cafferata took over the operation and named it Sisters Soap.
The goats’ milk is just one ingredient in a mix that makes up a cold-processed soap.
“Unlike detergent-based soaps, or melt-and-pour glycerine soaps,” these cold-processed products “are true soaps like they used to make in the olden days,” Cafferata said. To make them, she mixes lye with the oils and warmed milk and adds color, scent, and sometimes flower petals, seeds, oatmeal and even seaweed into the mix.
After the mix is prepared, she pours it into egg-shaped molds as well as a variety of other containers to produce differently shaped soaps. One of her more popular soaps is formed in a mold that provides a kind of cameo of a goat’s head. “I had to have a goat soap in honor of my sister,” Cafferata said.
Soap-making dovetails nicely with Cafferata’s passion for watercolor painting, an art that demands going with the flow. “Coming up with new combinations of scents and new molds, that’s the kind of thing that excites me, she said. “It’s a creative process, and it’s making things with my hands.”
Sisters Soap come in many varieties, including honeysuckle, lavender, orange raspberry poppy seed, rosemary, lemongrass, bergamot and seaweed. They are sold in The Good Tern Co-op in Rockland, Fresh Off the Farm in Rockport, the Liberty Graphics Outlet Store in Liberty, Coyote Moon boutique in Belfast, and many other shops and farmers markets. They may also be ordered at mainesisterssoap.com and appletoncreamery.com.