Soap maker Tasha's Own relocates to Toano, begins offering farming classes

Staff writer

Tasha’s Own, a local brand of handmade soaps, lotions and lip balms, relocated from Virginia Beach to a Toano farmhouse earlier this month, and owners recently began offering regular classes for those interested in learning about basic farming practices.

Maureen Anderson founded the company in 2004, and has 35 years experience raising livestock and crafting herbal medicines and organic goods. As the mother of eight children, Anderson said she became interested in farming as a way to become more self-sufficient and provide for her family.

“It’s something that I’ve always been interested in since childhood, and as a young mother, I felt like it was a necessity to learn how to do all of these different skills and crafts,” she said. “I wanted to be able to do it myself, and to show my children how to be resourceful.”

Her Tasha’s Own brand is known for its premium goat-milk soaps, which are sold across Hampton Roads in shops and at farmer’s markets and also across northern parts of the East Coast, including the Williamsburg Farmers Market.

By moving into the historic Toano home built in 1889, Anderson said she now has more room to share her farming and artisanal crafting knowledge with others. She held her first workshop this past Sunday, and attendees learned the basics of soap and cheese-making, candle dipping, herbal medicine and wild food foraging.

“The appeal is learning, but it’s also being able to go to somebody’s home and farm and see what it’s like to be a farmer,” she said. “They really like the interaction with the animals and they really like being on a farm, so I started calling it an afternoon at the farm, because it’s more than learning, it’s experiential.”

The next workshop, scheduled for Feb. 17, will focus on beekeeping, she said. For workshop scheduling and pricing information or for more information about Tasha’s Own products, email tashasown@gmail.com or visit tashasownherbarium.com.

After 41 years of serving the Williamsburg and West Point communities, Dr. Mark M. Neale announced his retirement from his two dentistry practices earlier this month.

Since starting his dentistry career in 1977, Dr. Neale took over the Family Dental Care practice in West Point after his father, Dr. M. Milton Neale Sr., retired in 1985, and opened Williamsburg Restorative and Implant Dentistry on New Point Road in James City County.

Both practices will stay open under new ownership, according to a news release from Neale and a representative from the Williamsburg office.

A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry, Neale received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and served as a captain in the United States Army Chemical Corps, according to the release. Neale is also a diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantology, a master in the Academy of General Dentistry and a member of both the American Dental Association and the Virginia Dental Association, according to the release.

In the release, Neale said during retirement he looks forward to spending more time with family and friends at home, on the water and in the mountains.

Dr. Neale is a former member of the West Point School Board, and has previously served as the president of the West Point Kiwanis Club, chairman of the West Point Christian Church and was a past president of the West Point Historical Society.

For more information, visit nealedds.com

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette
79°