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Pennyroyal Farm Cheesemaker Awarded Jennifer Bice Grant

Written by Sarah Silverman on . Posted in Company News

Huge congratulations are in order for Erika McKenzie-Chapter of Pennyroyal Farmstead & Winery. Erika is the first recipient of the Jennifer Bice Artisan Dairy/Cheesemaker Grant Award, a $10,000 scholarship created by Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery’s founder, Jennifer Bice, with the intention to mentor and support the next generation of cheesemakers in California.

Erika will use the funds to purchase equipment to improve productivity and efficiency on the farm, allowing her to increase production of her farmstead cheese.

Read the full announcement from the California Artisan Cheese Guild below:

 

Pennyroyal Farm Cheesemaker Awarded Jennifer Bice Grant

Today the California Artisan Cheese Guild (CACG) is pleased to announce the recipient of the first Jennifer Bice Artisan Cheesemaker Grant Award. Erika McKenzie-Chapter, co-owner and head cheesemaker of Pennyroyal Farm, located in Boonville, California (Mendocino County) has been chosen from a field of ten CACG member applicants. Applications were reviewed by the California Artisan Cheese Guild’s Selection Committee and will be administered through CACG. Pennyroyal Farm began making farmstead goat cheese in 2012 under the leadership of Ms. McKenzie-Chapter.  Pennyroyal Farm is home to more than 100 goats, and 100% of their milk is used to make award-winning fresh and aged goat cheese.

The first-time grant award of $10,000 is a generous gift provided by Jennifer Bice, founder of California’s esteemed Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, with the intention to mentor and support newer cheesemakers and dairy farmers in California. Bice helped establish the California Artisan Cheese Guild in 2006 and served as a founding board member. The Grant Award stipulates that the recipient be a CACG member, and that funds be used for creamery or farm infrastructure, or for education that relates to improving farming or business practices. “I remember how difficult it was when I started my own business many years ago,” says Bice. “I want to give back to the artisan dairy and cheese industry to help educate cheesemakers whenever I can.”

As dairy co-owner and head cheesemaker of Pennyroyal Farm, Erika McKenzie-Chapter manages the dairy and creamery.  Business partner Sarah Bennett oversees the vineyard, a flock of chickens, and a tasting room that sells their cheese and wine. A graduate of UC Davis with degrees in Animal Science and Animal Biology, McKenzie-Chapter dedicates time to teaching cheesemaking and animal care to hobbyists while contributing timely milk component data to research. “I am thrilled to receive this magnanimous award from Jennifer Bice,” says Ms. McKenzie-Chapter. “We are a young, growing company and these funds will help us purchase equipment, some of which I thought would take years to be able to afford, that will improve productivity and efficiency on the farm, and allow us to increase production of our farmstead cheeses,” she adds. The farm was named for the wild pennyroyal mint that carpets the sixty-acre farmstead and vineyard in Anderson Valley.

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About the California Artisan Cheese Guild (CACG)
CACG is the state’s only nonprofit dedicated to sustaining California’s artisan cheesemaking community. With a mission to celebrate the quality and diversity of artisan cheeses through partnerships, outreach and education, CACG provides education and networking opportunities for cheesemakers retailersenthusiasts, and extended industry professionals.

What Makes a Winning Dairy Goat?

Written by Sarah Silverman on . Posted in Life on the Farm

We’ve come to the end of another successful goat show season at Redwood Hill Farm, with championship wins at the California State Fair, the Sonoma County Fair, and others under our belt. Have you ever wondered what it takes to raise an award-winning dairy goat? Here, we’ll take you on a visual tour of our herd, and explore some of the qualities that make our goats champions.

Since the beginning, the goal of Redwood Hill Farm’s dairy goat breeding program has been to achieve “the winning combination of milkability and showability,” a term coined by the late Steven Schack, who started Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery with Jennifer Bice in 1978. Jennifer’s passion for dairy goats began at a young age, when she and her nine younger siblings raised dairy goats as 4-H projects on their parents’ small farm in Sebastopol, CA. For Jennifer and the other Bice children, attachment to these smart and personable animals came naturally.

Jennifer Bice with Dakota dairy goat

Founder of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Jennifer Bice, with her Grand Champion Nubian dairy goat, “Dakota”

While expanding Redwood Hill Farm’s line of goat milk products and growing their business, Jennifer and Steven’s herd continued to evolve and improve. Together, they won their first Premier Breeder of Show award at the ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) National Show in 1982; then again in 1984 and 1986. Sadly, Steven passed away in 1999. Jennifer kept his herd name—“Companeros”—to honor his memory and love for the Saanen breed. His Companeros herd of Saanens continues to impact the dairy goat world to this day, and Redwood Hill Farm has been awarded National Champion multiple times in the Saanen, Alpine and Nubian breeds.

So, what makes a winning dairy goat? When judging, the ADGA licensed judge is required to evaluate the dairy goat based on four major categories: General Appearance, Dairy Strength, Body Capacity, and Mammary System. This is not a beauty contest; the scorecard, which consists of 100 points total, is based on traits that will ensure a long and productive life.

1. General Appearance is the structure of the dairy goat: including head, back, shoulders, feet and legs. Overall, the judge looks for an attractive framework. A Lamancha doe,“Kastdemur’s Evian” in the photo below, is a good example of a doe with fine general appearance.

Dairy Goat showcasing General Appearance

2. Dairy Strength covers attributes that indicate good milk production, such as angularity and openness of the rib and flatness of bone. “Amicale” in the photo below excels in dairy strength, and has been awarded National Champion Alpine.

Dairy Goat showcasing Dairy Strength

3. Body Capacity correlates the width and depth of the body, ensuring ample capacity, strength and vigor. “Vineyard View Foxy Traveler” below is a Saanen with great body capacity.

Dairy Goat showcasing Body Capacity

4. The Mammary System category evaluates areas of the udder that will be important for a long, productive life. Although capacity in the mammary is significant, teat size, teat placement, udder shape and attachment are also very important. “Redwood Hills Rainbow,” our Alpine shown below, has an excellent overall mammary system.

Dairy Goat showcasing Mammary System

We’re continually improving our herd at Redwood Hill Farm. Jennifer is still actively involved in the breeding program and handling goats at shows. Her lifetime with goats began in 4-H, and she’s been a licensed ADGA judge for 42 years. She still likes to call our farm “a 4-H project that went out of control.” Her brother Scott Bice, Farm Manager at Redwood Hill Farm, is also a licensed dairy goat judge and keeps his own herd of “Vineyard View” dairy goats within our herd at Redwood Hill Farm. Scott and the farm crew are busy all year long at our Certified Humane Raised & Handled® farm, keeping the herd healthy and in tip-top shape for goat show season.

Of course, good breeding is just the beginning. When goats are happy, healthy and well-bred, you can really taste the difference; the best dairy always comes from the freshest, cleanest milk. Redwood Hill Farm’s yogurt, kefir and cheese are minimally processed, with a mild and uniquely delicious flavor. Our products have received top prizes from the American Cheese Society, the American Dairy Goat Association, and the California State Fair, to name a few. From award-winning dairy goats come award-winning products. A winning combination.

Milking The Sun

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

A goats-eye-view of the Redwood Hill Farm tracking solar array
By David Bice

At Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, we have long been known for making healthful and delicious goat milk yogurt, kefir and artisan cheeses – but did you know we are also a mini solar power plant? We make all of our dairy in our solar-powered creamery, where the sum of all electricity needs is covered by renewable energy.

Quality and sustainability are guiding principles for Jennifer Bice, Founder and Managing Director of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery.

A Brief History of the Saanen Dairy Goat from Switzerland

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

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.

Your Top Sustainable Cheese Producer

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

We are thrilled to be in Issue 3 of Conscious Company Magazine as a handful of the nations top sustainable cheese producers! Redwood Hill Farm Owner and CEO Jennifer Bice was interviewed about her woman-owned company and her 45+ year commitment to sustainability and the environment.

You can pick up a copy at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and other local retailers—you’ll be supporting sustainable businesses.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Recipe: Goat Cheese and Chive Bread

Written by Sharon Bice on . Posted in Recipes

This bread was developed as a request from Jennifer Bice and Steven Schack of Redwood Hill Farm for the annual Goat Milk Producers Convention which was held in Santa Rosa in 1990 at the Landmark Winery. It first appeared in print in Brother Juniper’s Bread Book: Slow Rise as Method and Metaphor by Peter Reinhart. At that time we made a goat milk ricotta, or as we liked to call it “rigoatta”, and the original recipe was developed using that ricotta goat cheese.

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

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

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.

Recipe: Chèvre Lemon Cakes with Powdered Sugar

Written by Redwood Hill on . Posted in Recipes

This is a classic lemon cake recipe that owner Jennifer Bice has been making with her award-winning chèvre for years. Arrange your tiny lemon cakes on a pretty serving platter, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with slices of lemon. Based on a recipe from Judith Maguire, pastry chef at Lalime’s Restaurant in Berkeley, CA, this simple recipe is sure to become one of your favorites, too.

 

 

American Cheese Society Award-Winners!

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

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