Goats Are on Maternity Leave – Busy Having Kids!
Each year, during a brief period in the winter, we experience a shortage of milk for our yogurt, kefir and artisan cheeses. This is due to the fact that goats are seasonal in their milk production. Unlike cows that can reproduce year-round, goats have their baby “kids” only once a year during late winter through spring.
At Redwood Hill Farm and the other Certified Humane® family farms we source our milk from, we stop milking the goats during the last two months of their pregnancy. This resting or “dry period” gives the mother goat’s mammary system time to regenerate and allows her body to replenish with nutrients.
The timing and extent of the shortage can vary slightly each year. We do our very best to evenly allocate what we have available to our distributors. However, the amount of yogurt and kefir that reaches your store may change from week to week. Mother Nature and Mother Goat are only so predictable!
What can you do to find our goat milk yogurt and kefir during this time?
- Introduce yourself to the dairy buyer at your favorite store, and ask him/her which day of the week the order for Redwood Hill Farm goat milk products comes in. If it is possible, plan to shop on that day.
- If you are a regular customer who depends on our goat milk products each week, your dairy buyer may be willing to set aside some of the order for you.
- Check with the other natural and specialty food stores in your area to find other sources of Redwood Hill Farm goat milk products.
- Finally, please do check back with us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we may have updates on milk supply and fulfillment of orders.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we care for our milking does and their precious kids during this special time of the year.
Donuts… deliciously crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
This donut recipe uses a lucky Chinese ingredient eaten on New Year’s Day: orange. The recipe calls for yuzu jam, made with Asian citrus, but you can use any citrus jam that is readily available such as orange marmalade. Oranges and tangerines bring luck, wealth and success to all those that eat them during the New Year.
Redwood Hill Farm plain kefir is the secret ingredient here. The batter should be slightly thick and donuts fried over a low-medium heat to make sure they are completely cooked and fluffy on the inside. You can either mix the yuzu jam in the batter or drizzle over the donuts while still warm. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar (optional) for extra sweetness.
Happy Year of The Goat, we hope it is filled with luck and delicious new recipes for you!
We’ve set our annual Farm Tour dates and hope to see you
Mark your calendars and please join us this year as we celebrate life on our goat farm. Our dates have been set, and we hope you will be able to join us in beautiful west Sonoma County, a truly magical place in springtime.
The number “8” is very lucky for the Chinese, so it’s not unusual to find a delicious dish with eight special ingredients on the table during Chinese New Year. Traditionally, eight ingredients like bamboo shoots, bean shoots and other “lucky” ingredients are stir-fried together to make something truly delicious.
You can choose any ingredients you love, but we like the crunch of the cucumbers, the slightly spicy radish wedges and the sweetness of the tomatoes when paired with the peanut and goat yogurt sauce. The egg ribbons add an Asian flavor to this salad, and the addition of fresh herbs give an added freshness with every bite. The carrots are also important since they are thought to bring luck.
Jennifer will be honored at the 42nd Annual Ag-BBQ
We’re so happy to share that the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce recently announced Redwood Hill Farm owner and CEO Jennifer Bice will receive the Leadership in Agriculture award at this year’s Agri-Business BBQ on July 29th! The 42nd Annual Agri-Business BBQ honoring the diverse and pivotal role of the agriculture community in shaping the quality of life here in Sonoma County, will take place at Shone Farm, Santa Rosa Junior College’s 365-acre outdoor learning laboratory. Select HERE for more details on the awards event in July.
In 1978, Jennifer Lynn Bice assumed ownership of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Inc., the family farm and Grade A goat dairy the Bice family started in Sonoma County in 1968, and never looked back. Along with her late husband, Steven Schack, Jennifer expanded the business to produce a greater variety of goat milk products, and diversified the dairy goat-breeding program.
Today Redwood Hill Farm is owned and operated by Jennifer, along with five of her siblings that worked to establish Redwood Hill Farm in the 1960’s. In addition, more than 50 dedicated employees now run the day-to-day operations at the Certified Humane® farm and state-of-the-art organic creamery in Sebastopol. Promoting the benefits of goat milk products and developing a genetics program of excellence for the Redwood Hill Farm herd remain her top priorities, and this commitment has positioned Redwood Hill Farm at the forefront of the dairy goat industry.
Enjoy this new “summer grilling” recipe from one of our favorite bloggers, Cookin’ Canuck Dara Michalski. I’m looking forward to trying the chipotle lime yogurt sauce on grilled veges as well!
Find Cookin’ Canuck at the blog and also connect on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cheers to a fresh and healthy
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
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.
Sebastopol, CA, December 1, 2015
My dear friends,
I have important news to share with you. Yesterday, on November 30th, I agreed to sell my business, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, to Emmi, a dairy and cheese company from Switzerland. Please allow me to tell you about my journey towards this decision. I want you to know why I chose Emmi – a company which is, to this day, majority owned by a cooperative of small-scale dairy farmers. I will describe how this change will benefit our community, and how it will allow me to deepen my relationship with my animals and the land that sustains us all.
Founder Jennifer Bice finds like-minded partner to carry on her focus on people, quality and sustainability
Sebastopol, California, December 1, 2015 – Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery’s Founder, Jennifer Bice, announced today that she has chosen Switzerland-based Emmi to acquire her company, which will become an independently operated subsidiary of Emmi Holding (USA), Inc. The makers of the nation’s leading goat milk dairy brand, Redwood Hill Farm, and the nation’s leading organic lactose-free cow dairy brand, Green Valley Organics, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery will continue business as usual at their creamery’s location in Sebastopol, CA.
Bice has committed to stay on as head of the company, overseeing day-to-day operations for several years until she retires, retaining ownership of her farm and 300 goats. The company’s entire leadership team will remain in place, with all employees retained and all jobs secure for the community in west Sonoma County, CA. Emmi and Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery have agreed to keep the terms of the acquisition confidential.
“My succession decision is the result of years of careful planning and research,” says Jennifer Bice, Founder of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery. “More than anything,” she continues, “I wanted to ensure that, after I retire, Redwood Hill will continue to thrive as a Sonoma County business, a community resource, and that we can continue our efforts to make pure, wholesome and organic food more accessible and affordable throughout the United States.”
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.
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.