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Savory Muffins with Feta and Fresh Basil

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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Surprise your family with a different breakfast idea: the savory muffin. It will fill your kitchen with the warm and earthy fragrances of basil, feta cheese and freshly baked bread, welcoming late risers as they pile out of bed. We suggest serving these muffins with honey butter, which creates a beautiful combination of sweet and savory and enhances the contrast of the tender crumb with the crunchy, seeded muffin top. This recipe was inspired by the Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book, which was published by the legendary Hummingbird Cupcake Shops in London, where it first appeared.

Roasted Vegetable and Feta Galettes

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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Baked egg in puff pastry on a bed of fragrant, roasted vegetables and a creamy base of savory feta, heavenly! And quite easy to make. Serve this savory pastry as an appetizer, or alternatively, with a lightly dressed green salad as a perfect spring brunch entree. We suggest pairing it with Champagne or other dry sparkling wine. Your guests will be delighted.

We’ve adapted this recipe from the cookbook “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi to include our feta.

From Redwood Hill to Hawaii

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Life on the Farm

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Young Emma Bello Brings Dairy Goats and Cheese Making to the Islands

Shared by David Bice

When we sample our goat milk cheeses at events or stores, people often say, “I wish I had goats!” or “My dream is to have goats one day and make cheese”. For most, it remains a dream. For Hawaii’s Emma Bello, it’s a dream come true.

Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Emma is raising goats, crafting artisan cheeses – and doing a very good job of it. Her degree in culinary arts, as well as her training while being an intern at Redwood Hill Farm from January through August, 2012. has played a crucial part in making her dream a reality. A young woman in her mid-twenties with a love of goats, farming, and a great passion for good food, Emma has turned former sugarcane and pineapple land in Central Oahu into a successful dairy goat operation, aptly named ‘Sweet Land’ Farm.

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Emma’s dream began several years ago, while working at Maui’s Surfing Goat Dairy, where she helped with cheesemaking. Wanting to learn more, Emma researched opportunities, preferably at a farm with decades of experience and known throughout the country for its goat milk products, she contacted Scott Bice, our farm manager at Redwood Hill. We constantly receive applications from students and job seekers looking to intern and work at Redwood Hill, and we did need a farmhand at the time.

Interning and learning at the farm takes serious commitment and effort. With determination, Emma and her father flew from Hawaii to meet with Scott and farm owner Jennifer Bice. Jennifer and Scott were impressed with her enthusiasm and willingness to learn the “Redwood Hill Farm way”.  Her dream of eventually beginning her own goat dairy and making cheese was something they both wanted to support. So, Emma packed her bags and left Hawaii to pursue that dream, living and working at Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery for nearly a year.

From milking goats, feeding and caring for goat kids, to helping deliver goat babies, Emma immersed herself in all facets of our farm to learn more about goat husbandry. She also spent two days per week in the cheese rooms at our creamery, learning the myriad details in the craft of cheese making, alongside Jennifer Lynn Bice and our cheese crew. For Emma, it was advantageous to monitor the small layout of Surfing Goat Dairy, and the larger operation of Redwood Hill, as it enabled her to choose methods that suited her best for her own farm.

With entrepreneurial spirit, Emma took her knowledge home to Hawaii, rolled up her sleeves and began building her dairy and small cheese plant. The main goat barn and pasture fencing she constructed first, and with the purchase of seventeen goat kids from Redwood Hill Farm, her dream was becoming reality. A special, custom-built container was built to fly the goat kids, the foundation of her herd, safely and comfortably in the cargo hold of a jet used exclusively to fly livestock. Building on this foundation, her herd has grown in recent years and she still has those original Redwood Hill goats. Her current Sweet Land Farm logo actually features a Redwood Hill Alpine doe.

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When I visited Emma and the goats, I could see that they had adapted very well! Trade winds bring daily showers for lush greenery year around, and the goats happily browse many acres, within view of nearby mountains and frequent rainbows. As we have always said at Redwood Hill, happy goats give the best milk, and Hawaii turned out to be a paradise for descendants of our herd.

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The goat milk is carefully and lovingly made into goat cheese by Emma, using methods learned in our cheese rooms as well as experimenting with what works best in her specific climate. Climate and the animals’ diet are contributing factors to the flavor and “terroir” of any cheese. The varieties of goat cheese she makes are getting rave reviews from chefs and restaurants, only an hour away in bustling Honolulu, home to many creative restaurants that like to feature local ingredients in their pacific rim style cuisine. Alan Wong, one of the most famous and well-respected chefs in the islands, proudly displays Sweet Land Farm cheeses on his menus and showcases her cheeses at public events.

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Currently, Sweet Land Farm makes fresh chèvre, the soft & spreadable goat cheese, in six flavors, while also producing goat milk Tomme and feta. Emma offers her cheeses at the Mililani Farmers Market each week, where market goers can “try before you buy”. Emma has her regular customers and sees it as an opportunity to educate the public about dairy goats. She is often asked about goat milk, and it’s her goal to eventually bottle fresh milk for sale.

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Farming and making cheese means hard work and long hours, but Emma truly enjoys being involved with all of it, from raising baby goats to meeting her customers. She has five employees, including family members. Her brother has an agricultural engineering degree, and her parents share the workload.

When asked what her favorite part of it all is, Emma says “helping does deliver their babies is the best.” As with our farm at Redwood Hill, it all begins with love for these intelligent animals and their individual personalities. Indeed, their irresistible personality is why Emma fell in love with goats to begin with. For Emma, living and farming in the paradise of Hawaii where she grew up completes the dream – and it is coming true at Hawaii’s Sweet Land Farm.

Homemade Kefir Ranch Dressing

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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Cheers to a fresh and healthy
New Year!

Here is a way to pump up your intake of health-boosting vegetables and probiotics: Pair your leafy greens with homemade Ranch dressing. Originally calling for buttermilk, we’ve substituted our Plain
Goat Milk Kefir
in this Ranch dressing recipe and love the result. Use over fresh lettuce greens, as a dip for raw vegetables, or as a dressing for potato salad and coleslaw.

This recipe was adapted from one at Huffingtonpost.com

A Brief History of the Saanen Dairy Goat from Switzerland

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Life on the Farm

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Not all goat milk is the same – there are variations in volume, components, water content and butterfat depending on the time of year and on the type of goat breed. Of all breeds, Alpine and Saanen dairy goats are the top producers by volume. Milk from the Nubian dairy goat breed on the other hand, tends to be a bit higher in butterfat. To make our yogurt, kefir and cheeses consistent and delicious in flavor, we combine goat milk from Redwood Hill Farm and seven other family farms, sourcing milk from La Mancha, Nubian, Alpine, Oberhasli, and Saanen goats.

Honoring Zimba

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Life on the Farm

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Our Zimba passed away at the old goat age of 12 years with friends, herdmates, and sister Zoe by her side

Born in the Spring of 2002 in a kidding that produced twin does, Zimba (SG Redwood Hills Ransom Zimba) is the daughter of the sweet doe Grand Champion Redwood Hills Samurai Zariba and her sire, the wild and reckless buck Willow Run Atlas Ransom.

The Olive Harvest at Redwood Hill Farm

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Life on the Farm

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In Italy there are many festivals in November to celebrate the olive harvest, when family and friends gather to harvest the plump green and purple fruit by hand.

It was a cold but sunny morning three years ago, when we started our own family tradition: picking the fruit of our young trees by hand to make “green gold”—the buttery, peppery, and delicious olive oil.

Peanut Butter Pistachio Goat Milk Fudge

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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Fudge for the holidays, with a twist: made with cultured goat milk kefir

We’ve added pistachios to a classic peanut butter fudge recipe using our fresh, award-winning, plain goat milk kefir instead of evaporated milk. The goat milk kefir works beautifully—the resulting fudge is smooth, creamy with a nice peanut-butter flavor and a hint of tartness. Chopped, unsalted pistachios give just the right amount of contrasting “crunch” to the creamy confection and are very pretty sprinkled over the top as a garnish. Adapted from goat milk fudge recipe on food.com.

This fudge makes a great homemade gift—just be sure to save some for yourself.

Avocado Kefir Smoothie

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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New research finds that eating an avocado per day, as part of an overall diet rich in healthy fats, may help cut the bad kind of cholesterol, known as LDL. “The avocado is this nutrient-rich, power-packed fruit that’s full of monounsaturated fat,” CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says. “It also has fiber and antioxidants in it. It’s high in potassium, and vitamins. It’s low in sodium, cholesterol and sugars.” Plus, she noted, “the ancient Aztecs thought it was an aphrodisiac, if you need another reason to eat them.”

Creamy, probiotic-rich goat milk kefir provides the perfect base for this thick, nutrient packed green smoothie. You’ll get the benefits of goat milk, plus the powerful nutritional boosts from avocado, quinoa, banana and cucumber.