FamilyView: Hollow Oak Acres Baby Goat Days


by Brandilyn Mitchell

As a writer for both BrewView and KidsView, I am always on the lookout for experiences that collide the two columns. I enjoy discovering hidden-gems for guardians and their littles that will have all of you talking about how much fun was had for months to come. If you’re up for a drive with the family, might I suggest Hollow Oak Acres in Lincoln? Put the tablets away and play some good ol’ fashioned games of “ABC I-spy”, “Out-of-State-License-Plate”, “Fortunately/Unfortunately” or even “Cows on my Side” for the drive. Why? Not only are car games fun, playing with your kids and making memories is important for their social-emotional development and mental health; building connections and spending time together is the key! After nearly 2 hours full of fun games, singing silly songs and hysterical laughter, we arrived at Hollow Oak Acres. We booked a workshop in advance and brought a bottle of Jessie’s Grove Legacy wine to enjoy near the pond. Wow, what a day we had! We got to meet some cool new people, hold baby goats, eat charcuterie and learned how to make artisan goat milk soap.

Shelley Vandeveer and her husband Ike, alongside Shelley’s lovely parents Charlie & Gayle, take care of the farm which consists of Nigerian Dwarf goats, ducks, chickens, four dogs, two cats and a few cows. About 2.5 years ago, she started making soaps as a hobby to help use up her goat milk. Her friends began to encourage her to do more with her hobby because her soaps were so divine. She finally opened in 2022, right there on the farm. Didn’t think they were kept busy enough, they have five kids and a foreign exchange student. (Her oldest daughter Madison is very involved in the business too.) They are as environmentally conscious as they possibly can be, which is important these days.

The workshop itself was both fun AND educational. Who doesn’t like some yummy smelling chemistry? It was neat to see how different types of fats (shea butter vs coconut oil for example) react in the saponification process. The soap I made (“Radiant Orchid”) had a different texture than what my mother-in-law made (“Pineapple Papaya”), but with nearly the same ingredients. Science is fun like that! Their finished products include Goat Milk Soap, Lotion, Sugar Scrub, Intense Salve and Beard Batter. (Yes, batter lolz.)

It ended up raining on us during our visit, so rather than a picnic lunch like we planned, we drank our wine inside. Once our bottle was empty, we went outside and took a tour of the farm while our daughter did one of her favorite things: jump in muddy puddles! She thought that was the best part, followed by petting the adorable baby goats (of course a kid would choose mud over cuddles!) We met two sibling cutie pies called Sessile (who they lovingly call “Ceece”) and Douglas. All their baby goats are named after Oak tree varieties. These adorable goats are doted on and adored, so believe me when I say these soaps come from happy goats. Happy cows might come from Humboldt County, but happy goats come from Hollow Acres Farm. They were so friendly and let my daughter pet them and talk to them like they thought *she* was the cutest thing they’d ever seen instead of the other way around.

If there’s one thing I really want you to enjoy about this workshop that it’s all about family. Three generations of ours attended the workshop that day and each of us had a blast, and three generations maintain the farm. It doesn’t matter if you want to make the soap, pets the goats, or enjoy time outside-there is something in it for everyone you love. (Or you can be like Nana and scritch Huckleberry while the wine is being enjoyed!)

Book your workshop on the website, being mindful that they are closed major Sunday holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day, as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve & New Years. Workshops are $49.99 per person and are for up to 8 people. Each workshop comes with a charcuterie board and a goodie bag of products for you to fall in love with. Afterwards, you may enjoy corn hole or frisbee golf to get all the wiggles out before the drive home. Don’t forget to grab some yummy free-range-happy-chicken eggs at $6 a dozen before you leave!

(Writer’s note: This workshop isn’t advertised as a kid-friendly event. However, if your kid has a science-inclined mind or loves to help in the kitchen, I recommend it. Wear long sleeves, and if you have a kid-sized apron or goggles, bring them! Otherwise, adult sized goggles will be available. Get out there and make some memories!)

Hollow Oak Acres
1240 Fruitvale Road
Lincoln, CA 95648

About the Author:

Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale. Loves to roast marshmallows over a fire.