Pardon our delay in announcing a winner. Maggy’s been on vacation, and I’ve been helping my parents move to a retirement facility from their home of 35 years. Our winner is Yvonne D. Congrats!
Last Friday I was invited to visit Redwood Hill Farm, a family-owned and operated goat farm in Western Sonoma County, California.
Redwood Hill Farm is operated by four of the ten siblings of the Bice family who took over the farm from their parents in 1978. They are immensely proud of the fact that their goat farm was the first to be humane certified in the United States. Since then, others have followed suit, but for the Bice’s – these goats have always been family.
During our farm tour, we were able to hold 2-day old baby goats (cute kid overload) and afterwards were able to milk goats too! The youngest brother, Scott, showed us how they all run in and line up, eager to be milked. He opened the gate and the first group ran in, hopped up on the platform, and we were looking at some seriously large udders! I was first in line to try milking a goat by hand – they tell me I’m a natural.
But it’s not just about the goats – life on their farm is holistic. One of the brothers, David, tends to their organic garden and fruit trees which provide produce for their whole family and even some of their employees. Everything from kale and peas to artichokes and asparagus, a food lover’s paradise! Using goat and kitchen waste, David and his brother Scott make tons of compost and mulch for the garden; they say it’s the best. Judging by the beauty of their garden and the perfection of the produce, I’d have to agree.
Eldest sister, Jennifer, proudly showed us their enormous solar panels that rotate to follow the sun. She explained how the family had always felt a strong responsibility to be good stewards to the environment. Today, both the farm and the creamery are 100% solar-powered.
Redwood Hill Farm makes goat yogurt and kefir and beautiful artisanal goat cheeses, including a smoked goat cheddar that I can’t stop thinking about. They also recently started a line of lactose-free cow dairy products called Green Valley Organics. And it’s all produced at their creamery just four miles away from the farm. All the talk of creamy, delicious dairy was making this group of bloggers hungry!
By early evening, the sun was setting behind vine-covered hills and Jennifer invited us into her garden to taste their products and sample hard cider and wine from local purveyors. From artisanal cheeses and spreads, to quick kefir breads and sour cream dips, we feasted like kings on dairy and the bounty of their organic garden. This, I thought, is how food should be. Always.
It’s not news that our food supply is increasingly industrialized, streamlined, and genetically modified to give us food faster and cheaper, but we are also increasingly aware of the toll this is taking on our bodies and on the planet. I guess there’s a sense of hopelessness to it all – defeat, submission. A collective shrug followed by, “What can I do?” But this is why it’s important to shine a big, bright spotlight on businesses like Redwood Hill Farm that steadfastly operate in a way that is respectful to the land and animals, all while successfully running a profitable business and creating high quality products.
What the Bice’s are doing at Redwood Hill Farm is extraordinary. But the truth is – it shouldn’t be. They are working in communion with nature and nature is giving back. I don’t know about you, but this is how I want my food to grow. This is how I want my animal products produced. If you agree, these are the kind of businesses we should be supporting, not just with pats on the backs or empty promises, but with our dollars and cents at the grocery store.
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Next time you’re at the store, check your dairy aisle to see if Redwood Hill Farm or Green Valley Organics is there! In the meantime, Redwood Hill Farm is giving one ThreeManyCooks reader the chance to win a selection of their products. To enter, just connect with them on Twitter @RedwoodHillFarm or on Facebook and leave us a comment to let us know you’ve done so.
The gift bag includes goat and cow yogurt and kefir (pictured above), their amazing sour cream (which taste more like creme fraiche!), a selection of their artisanal cheeses, and a pair of gardening gloves! I think this is one of our best giveaways yet.
Giveaway ends on Sunday, May 6 at 9 PM EST.