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Vendor Profile: Southlake Holistics

If you are looking for high quality supplements for your dog, and natural and tasty elderberry syrup for you, made with love, look no further.

Matt Carter and two of the English setters he has adopted.

Matt Carter has been making his handmade Southlake Holistic products since 2016, when one of the English setters that he has adopted had a lot of health issues. In addition to helping him pay his veterinary fees, his pet supplements have helped his own dogs and many dogs and cats throughout the region. The golden paste, bone broth, and kefir that Matt makes are tasty for pets, smell good, and provide them with necessary moisture and protein. While they are not considered medicine, he has seen benefits in his own dogs in skin and coat health, as well as stomach and digestive health.

From left to right: Natural turkey treats, golden past, bone broth, and raw-milk kefir.

You can find more details about all of the Southlake Holistics products on the website:

You can also follow Southlake Holistics on Facebook to get updates on products, market participation, and for online ordering.

When I went to visit, Matt showed me the process for making kefir, with simple but effective technology to help regulate the temperature of the fermentation process. Even small and simple tools can really help a small business take things to the next level. Similarly, he showed me the blue cookie cutter that he uses to stamp out his dog treats – it was custom-made on a 3-D printer that his friend has, complete with a sharp edge for cutting the dough, and the three signature letters on all of his treats: SLH (Southlake Holistics). This, along with a pasta machine, make his treats uniform and guarantee equal baking time.

Left to right: Fermentation, mixing, and straining the all-natural raw-milk kefir. And the custom-made cookie cutter to make all-natural treats.

Matt’s passion for dogs shines through in his conversation, his home (where he has framed photos of other dogs he has fostered or adopted), and his business, Southlake Holistics. If you are looking for high quality supplements for your dog, made with love, look no further. Come out every Wednesday to Coffee Creek, walk the trails with your pup, and then head over to the Southlake Holistics booth for a treat for your dog and some healthy and natural elderberry syrup for yourself.

Here is what Matt told me about participating in the Coffee Creek Farmer's Market:

What do you love about the Coffee Creek Farmers Market?

It’s so inspirational to see all of the vendors building things. I can see that it’s possible to make it with a small business. The market has really helped with that. I sell to some vets’ offices, and I also sell to order, but doing the markets has made it possible for this to be my only job. And I get ideas from other vendors at the market.

When I started my dog treats, I made the recipe with my bone broth, pureed turkey meat, and local eggs as well as locally-produced wheat from the same supplier that supplies another vendor at the market. There’s a synergy and a mutual support that make the market good for everyone.

I also love that the market is dog-friendly! Everyone can bring their dogs, and of course stop by my booth for supplements and treats that are high quality and good for your dog.

What are the challenges and joys of your work?

I love making my own product; it’s just me, and I know the quality that goes into each batch. I also love learning and see the challenges as a chance to grow. I try to be nimble and flexible, improving my method or my inputs, finding different offers and price points to make my business successful.

What I absolutely love is selling my product to my customers, imagining them in my mind as I prepare each item, knowing that the golden paste or kefir or bone broth is going to animals that will benefit.

What do you want your customers to know?

I want them to know that I take my own elderberry syrup. My mom does. My pets use my products, and my friends and family and their pets do, too. It’s the highest honor that I could receive that my veterinary’s dogs use my products, too. People trust me to make these products for them and their pets, and that is amazing to me.

Elderberry syrup

Why is supporting the local food system important?

When you buy Milkbone dog treats, your money does not stay in your local community. Milkbone isn’t supporting your local kids’ soccer team. I love the local aspect of the market and these small businesses. I use an insurance guy in town. My supplier is from Elkhart. I try to keep my purchases local. And my business means people can their food and pet supplements locally.

All of this really makes the community and the local economy stronger. We all learn from each other and promote other local things that are going on, and meet new people doing local businesses. Maybe local products are slightly more expensive, but the quality is better, and the impact on the community is better.

You can find Southlake Holistics every week at our Wednesday market at the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Pavilion parking lot, April 20-November 2, 2022, from 3-7 PM. Check us out on Facebookand Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list to get notified of all of the vendors' featured products each week.

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