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

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

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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!

American Cheese Society Award-Winners!

Written by Nancy Lorenz on . Posted in Company News, In the News

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Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery’s Bucheret Goat Cheese and Plain Goat Milk Kefir Win at 2014 American Cheese Society Competition

RedwoodHillFarm_ACSwinsWe are honored to announce that our Bucheret Goat Milk Cheese and our Plain Goat Milk Kefir won second place at this year’s prestigious American Cheese Society’s Judging and Competition in Sacramento. Bucheret placed second in the Goat’s Milk Cheese Aged 31-60 Days category and the Plain Goat Milk Kefir placed second in the “All Milks” Kefir, Drinkable Yogurt, Buttermilk and Other Drinkable Cultured Products category, amid nearly 1,700 entries from 248 companies in the overall competition.

For more information, visit www.cheesesociety.org
Would you like to see a complete list of this year’s winners?
CLICK HERE

 

Recipe: Scott’s “No Kidding Around” chore-time energy smoothie

Written by Nancy Lorenz on . Posted in Recipes

Redwood Hill Farm Manager Scott Bice

Where does this goat farmer get his energy?

Managing a goat dairy requires long days and stamina to keep everything running smoothly. This means getting up before dawn and working all day – and, during spring “kidding season,” into the night as well, welcoming new baby kids into the world. Where does Farm Manager Scott Bice get all his energy?

His secret weapon is his “No Kidding Around” Chore-Time Energy Smoothie.” This special concoction, featuring our wholesome goat milk kefir and Scott’s own custom nutrient-rich add-ins, will energize you in the morning and sustain you through work or play.

Specialty Food Magazine spotlight includes Redwood Hill Farm yogurt

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in In the News

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We worked with Food Writer Dina Cheney to provide information for her “Culture Club” yogurt category spotlight feature story which appears in the spring 2014 issue of SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE.

You’ll find quotes from Redwood Hill Farm owner and CEO, Jennifer Bice, featured on pages 80 (on whole milk and natural yogurt with the fewest ingredients) and 82 (on probiotics going mainstream), and mention of both Redwood Hill Farm and our lactose-free brand Green Valley Organics, on page 81.

This in-depth, state-of-the-industry report provides many insights from the specialty yogurt industry including, fellow Northern California yogurt manufacturer Liam Callahan of Bellwether Farms.

Read the digital Issue HERE

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.

Recipe: Fruit and Spice Cake

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

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This lovely cake was adapted from a favorite cookbook of mine, The Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn. It is a family heirloom cake of hers and we think it will become a favorite with your family too! The original recipe calls for chopped, cooked, pitted prunes but the spices in it begs for trying pineapple or even cooked, chopped peaches as an alternative. The fruit may vary in the amount of moisture it gives to the batter, so if the batter looks a little loose after adding the fruit of your choice, add a tablespoon or so of flour.

I am showing the cake here with a delicious goat cheese Cream Cheese Frosting which is a perfect complement. This recipe, along with the original recipes suggested frosting, Caramel Kefir, are both in our dessert section.  Remember: Redwood Hill Farm plain goat milk kefir is a perfect substitute for buttermilk in any recipe! The original recipe states that this cake is delicious served without frosting if desired.

American Cheese Society Award for Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery

Written by Redwood Hill on . Posted in Company News

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From award-winning goats comes award-winning goat milk kefir!

California’s Sonoma County has a long tradition of dairying and cheese making. That proud tradition recently honored North Bay cheese producers including Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery who took home awards from the 2013 American Cheese Society’s annual Judging & Competition in early August, with Redwood Hill Farm brought home the top prize in their division for the Redwood Hill Farm Traditional Plain Kefir! This is not the first award for Redwood Hill’s delicious goat milk kefir, click here for a listing of recent awards.

The competition took place in Madison, WI during the annual conference of the American Cheese Society, a not-for-profit organization that encourages the appreciation and promotion of farmstead and specialty cheeses in the U.S. and Canada. Congratulations to all of the winners, and to Madison, WI, for hosting a great American Cheese Society Conference!

For more information about the American Cheese Society, go to cheesesociety.org

Recipe: Go-Go Greens Goat Milk Kefir Smoothie

Written by Redwood Hill on . Posted in Recipes

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Has your get up and go, got up and gone? Juice up your day with goat milk kefir and nourishing greens, bursting with energy to spare. We added a kiss of apple and a handful of strawberries for sweetness and recommend including a frozen banana for an extra creamy texture. Our Redwood Hill Farm Plain Kefir packs a punch of protein and has Flourish® – a proprietary blend of 10 live active probiotic cultures. Make enough to share as family and friends will be green with envy of your renewed vim and vigor.

For more on how to get creative with kefir and yogurt smoothies, check out our…

Mix and Match Smoothie Guide

 

 

 

Recipe: Creamy Goat Milk Kefir Parsnip & Potato Mash

Written by Redwood Hill on . Posted in Recipes

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Who says holiday dishes can’t be healthy? By adding kefir and fibrous parsnips to traditional mashed potatoes your guests will enjoy up to a whopping 10 grams of fiber per serving without missing a beat. A tummy-taming pour of Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Kefir adds creaminess, a delightful tang and beneficial bacteria to boot. For a lactose free option use our Green Valley Organics kefir. Try our tempting add-ons to take this showstopper over the top.

Switch It Up, Switch It Out

We whipped up our Parsnip-Tater Mash with goat’s milk kefir because we love its creamy texture and rich tanginess. But if you’re out of Redwood Hill Farm Plain Goat Kefir or have a hankerin’ for cow’s milk products, our Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Kefir, Yogurt or Sour Cream make fine alternatives. Each adds an exceptional creaminess and nutty flavor without any lactose. Substitute the kefir and yogurt 1:1 and the sour cream 3/4 cup per every one cup of kefir. Substitute Redwood Hill Farm Plain Goat Yogurt 1:1 too!