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10 Fun Facts About Goat Kids

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

Farm kid Nicole holding one of ther favorite goats

How much do you know about goat kids? At Redwood Hill Farm we’ve been raising dairy goat kids since the mid 1960’s, and over the years have learned much about these intelligent, cute and cuddly young animals. Here’s our ‘top ten’ of fun facts about goat kids.

Humans and goats have enjoyed a close relationship for thousands of years. Nicole Bice, pictured left, and her brother Colton, below, are the next generation of human kids growing up with goat kids on our Certified Humane® farm—kids playing with kids, living and learning together on the farm.

 

Our Goat Milk’s Journey, from farm to you.

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

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by David Bice

Redwood Hill Farm has been a family farm for over 45 years. It began in 1968 when our parents, Cynthia and Kenneth Bice (with then seven kids), moved from Los Angeles to Sonoma County and bought their very first goat named “Flopsy”. As a family and later under the leadership of oldest sister, Jennifer Bice, we have been making our cultured yogurt, kefir and artisan cheese for our goat milk loving customers since the early 1970’s. We invite you on a journey to follow our fresh goat milk as it travels from our Certified Humane® goat farm in Sebastopol, CA, to your neighborhood store.

The journey starts at dawn…

Our milking does headed into the parlor

Scott Bice guides the Redwood Hill Farm herd head into the milking parlor where it all begins. Dairy goats are milked twice a day, at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. An average milking goat will give 2,000 lbs. of milk in a year. Our top performing dairy goats, which are nationwide leaders in milk production, may give up to two tons of milk annually!

Redwood Hill Farm Manager Scott Bice with a Saanen milk doe.

Our dairy does look forward to milking time. They are very social animals, and Farm Manager Scott Bice not only knows them by name but also is also quite aware of their different personalities. Aside from getting a pat from the herdsman, milking time is when the does enjoy their custom milled, protein-rich grain mix, which makes up about 25% of their diet; the remaining 75% consists of fresh forages, brush and hay.

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We raise four different breeds of dairy goats on our farm, who in turn give us the best-tasting milk for our probiotic yogurt, kefir and artisan cheeses. Pictured here are Saanen dairy goats, a breed that originated in Switzerland. Compared to cow milk, goat milk contains higher levels of calcium, vitamin A, potassium and niacin.

Milking machines transport the fresh, raw goat milk through filters into our milk parlor’s holding tank, where it is immediately chilled and held at 38 to 40 degrees. Notice the “cream clouds” at the top. Goat milk, unlike cow milk, is “naturally homogenized,” which means that most of the fat globules are evenly dispersed throughout the milk.

Delivering the farm-fresh, raw goat milk to our creamery

David Bice filling the milk tanker

Throughout the week, our fresh milk is transported to Redwood Hill Farm Creamery, located only four miles from the farm. Here, family member David Bice fills milk into the tanker for another load.

Our milk tanker on the road

Enjoying the rural countryside of beautiful West Sonoma County is a perk for employees doing this farm chore.

Taking a milk sample in the receiving bay at Redwood Hill Farm

In the receiving bay at our creamery, Alfredo Monter-Jacinto takes samples of the milk for quality testing. Because we make quite a bit of yogurt, kefir and cheese, we also receive milk from six additional Certified Humane® goat dairy farms.

Our passion: making specialty goat milk yogurt, kefir and cheese

Redwood Hill Farm owner and cheesemaker stirring feta curds

In addition to yogurt and kefir, we make an assortment of handmade, artisan cheeses. We use raw goat milk to make Redwood Hill Farm’s gold medal-winning Raw Goat Milk Feta. Here, Owner and Cheesemaker, Jennifer Lynn Bice, and her cheese team stir the curds.  Feta curds are then packed by hand into molds, brined in a natural sea salt solution, and aged from six months to a year—just as traditional feta has been made for centuries.

Redwood Hill Farm California Crottin

Depending on the style of cheese, our 3 to 5 ounce artisan rind-ripened or ‘soft-ripened’ cheeses are aged for about 14 days in cave-like, temperature- and humidity-controlled aging rooms. At just the right age, slightly before ripeness and flavor reach their optimum, the cheeses are wrapped and packed by hand and then sold to stores up and down the West Coast. By the time the cheese has made its journey and has reached our customers, the flavor should be fully developed.

Adding cultures to our pasteruized goat milk to make yogurt.

By law in the United states, milk to make yogurt and kefir must be pasteurized, but there are different methods. We use the vat-pasteurization method, the gentlest for retaining a higher percentage of the milk’s natural enzymes. After pasteurization, specific cultures are added to the goat milk depending on whether we are making yogurt or kefir and depending on our production schedule for that day.

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After the yogurt or kefir containers are filled with the warm cultured milk and sealed, they are stacked and delivered to our creamery’s hot room for fermentation. At this stage the liquid milk thickens or “sets” as the beneficial bacteria cultures rapidly multiply.

Delivering freshly packed yogurt quarts to our creamery hot room for culturing.

After 4-6 hours, and at just the right pH level, the yogurt or kefir is moved into the chilling room. This important step holds the pH at just the right level and stabilizes the delicate texture.

Distributor truck picking up Redwood Hill Farm yogurt and kefir

Our carefully packed cheese, yogurt or kefir is picked up by our distributors and delivered to natural and specialty food stores, cooperatives, as well as many natural food sections of conventional grocery stores in your area.

Our goat milk yogurt and kefir is available nationwide at coops and natural, specialty food markets.

Everything we make is crafted with 100% Grade A whole goat milk.  Fresh milk is the key to making the best-tasting goat milk yogurt, kefir and cheese. Thank you for joining us on our milk’s journey from our farm to your fridge!

Jennifer’s Goat Art Collection

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

Toy goat jumping on milk can

“Goat people” love to collect all kinds of goaty items. Enjoy this collection of some of Jennifer’s favorite art pieces collected over her 45+ years of owning and loving dairy goats.

Hover over any image to read details and history or click on images to view in a larger format.

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Bice named 2014 Leadership in Agriculture Award Winner

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Company News, In the News

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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.

Jennifer began showing and learning about dairy goats as a young Sonoma County 4H member

Jennifer began showing and learning about dairy goats as Sonoma County 4-H member

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.

A Joyful Spring Farm Tour at Redwood Hill Farm

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

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2014 Spring Farm Tour: lots of happy memories…

The first weekend of our annual Farm Tours are behind me with a head full of happy moments shared with family, employees and a farm full of new friends. We’re all on our second cups of coffee this morning as we laugh and share stories of a great weekend!

Redwood Hill Farm customers from near and far drove up beautiful Thomas Road in Sebastopol to arrive at the farm, park in the olive and apple orchard and walk Apple Blossom Lane to enjoy a taste of farm living.

A deeper shade of green at Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Company News

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At Redwood Hill Farm we’re reducers, reusers, recyclers… and composters!

With a bit of time, kitchen scraps, plant clippings, and straw & hay from the barns turns into what we love to call “black gold”! It’s part of our ongoing commitment to the environment of our community, and our constant striving to be as “green” as we possibly can.

This commitment has enabled us to recently receive certification and recognition as a Sonoma County Green Business, and the news on our Green Business Certification was the lead news item in The Press Democrat’s Agriculture Briefs , Sunday December 15.

The Sonoma Green Business Program (www.sonoma-county.org/sonomagreen) is a partnership of government agencies and utilities that assists, recognizes, and promotes local organizations, focusing on small to medium-sized consumer-oriented businesses who voluntarily operate in environmentally responsible ways. Certified participants must be in compliance with all environmental regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste.  Select here to download more about our new certification.

A Warm Thanks from The Ceres Project

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Company News, Life on the Farm

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As part of a fundraising event recently for The Ceres Project, we hosted a “Mystery Tour” of 25 people who crawled the back roads of Sonoma County to learn, taste, and enjoy some baby goat love at Redwood Hill Farm! Thanks to Lorelei for the lovely blog post and pictures from a simply wonderful afternoon for all.

We are honored to donate probiotic kefir and yogurt to the meals program each week applaud founder Cathryn Couch, founder, for caring so deeply about local community.

Autumn on The Farm and Jennifer’s Brandied Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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

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Note: this blog post ran for the first time last fall. The farm was so beautiful, and this pumpkin pie recipe is so special, I’m sharing again for this Thanksgiving. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with you and yours.

Thanksgiving is upon us…

and right on cue are blustery days, intense fall colors, and a sprinkling of rain showers to green up the fields on the farm. Recently on an extraordinarily fine day, I spent the afternoon with Jennifer and we made pie. Jennifer and I share a passion for cooking, along with Scott, David, Shelley and a few other siblings! As a large family growing up together on Redwood Hill Farm, cooking with fresh goat milk and seasonal produce from the garden each year became a natural part of our life. Now, some 45 years later, we all have favorite recipes when it comes to gathering for holiday meals and this pie is very special.