Posts Tagged ‘Scott Bice’
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…
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!
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.
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
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.
Enjoying the rural countryside of beautiful West Sonoma County is a perk for employees doing this farm chore.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Congratulations to our incredible Farm Team!
It was a wonderful Sonoma County Fair goat show for Redwood Hill Farm. We were honored to receive many awards, including the coveted Supreme Best Doe in Show award as SGCH Rima (pictured) won it against some amazing competition. Winning this award at our prestigious State and County Fair in the same year, is another great accomplishment in this Doe’s storied career.
by Scott Bice, Farm Manager Redwood Hill Farm
This past Thanksgiving, our family gathered around more than just a dining room table. We also gathered around an olive grove for our very first harvest of the beautiful Tuscan olive trees planted two and a half years earlier.
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. On a cold but sunny morning, we started a new Bice family tradition: picking the fruit to make “green gold”—the buttery, peppery, and delicious olive oil.
By Scott “Goat Guy” Bice
All of our goats at Redwood Hill are special, but every once in a while, a certain individual will come along and grab everyone’s attention. From the experienced goat breeder visiting Redwood Hill Farm who exclaims “WOW!!” when they see her gliding around the barn, to the third grade student that very same goat befriends by coming up and rubbing her gently on their back, as if saying, “Love me”.
Meet Rima, the American Dairy Goat Association’s (ADGA) 2012 National Champion and Best Udder Alpine.
By Scott “Goat Guy” Bice
Spring and Summer are very busy seasons here at Redwood Hill Farm. In that time, we go from kidding season to goat show season at our Certified Humane® farm, with just about every weekend filled with some kind of event. This year it seemed busier than ever with a multitude of events. Sadly, neither the goats or I had time for writing The Bleat Beat. Fear not loyal readers, The Bleat Beat is back!
Hi Everyone, my name is Zimba! I’m one of over 300 dairy goats living here at Redwood Hill Farm, the first goat dairy in the nation to be labeled with the Certified Humane® designation—animal welfare is very important to the folks who own and manage Redwood Hill.
You might have seen me on postcards or even on a truck and trailer that delivers our natural, delicious, dairy goat products to health food stores everywhere. Well, now I’m so famous they even want me to write a blog! Actually, Farm Manager Scott Bice and others on the farm will be contributing to the blog as well, but we all know that I’m the one capacious in writing creativity! Read on as I’m excited to fill you in on happenings at Redwood Hill Farm from the goat’s perspective.
By Scott “Goat Guy” Bice
Life is like spring weather in Sonoma County. You never know what you’re gonna get. I’m sure a lot of places can make that statement for their spring time weather, but after spending much of my youth in the temperate climate of Kauai, I’m often amazed at the dynamic spring weather shifts we have here in the North Bay area.
“I can’t think of a more quintessential Sonoma County farm family than the lovely folks at Redwood Hill Creamery. Jennifer Bice has lead the way for the sweet and natural growth of what her parents started 45 years ago. She has gathered some of her family around her, repurposed legendary facilities, gently moved beyond their core work of making some delicious goats milk foods and is living an exemplary existence in our magical region. They have been our largest sponsors of this Sonoma County Food and Farming Project, for which we are most grateful, but we’d have wanted to tell their story even if they hadn’t made this entire video story series possible.” ~ Clark Wolf
The Sonoma County Food and Farming Project (SCFFP), under the umbrella of Ag Innovations Network, seeks to increase of and encourage participation in small-scale food and farming projects in Sonoma County. Click here and enjoy the project’s video of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery