Interview with Redwood Hill Farms
Tell us about Redwood Hill Farm.
Redwood Hill Farm is a family owned business that produces natural goat milk yogurt, kefir, and artisan cheese in our Sebastopol solar-powered creamery. We have a beautiful herd of dairy goats on our Humane Certified® farm just a few miles from our creamery. We’re happy to mention that our farm is now solar powered as well!
How did the farm get started?
It was the beginning of the back-to-the-land movement, and my parents who had grown up in Southern California wanted to give a more rural lifestyle to their family. They bought an abandoned apple orchard in Sebastopol and moved us onto the land in 1964. As soon as the house was finished, my dad and grandpa built a small barn and we got our first goats (and chickens)!
We joined a local 4-H club and participated in lots of ‘projects’, but the goats quickly became everyone’s favorites. By 1968 we had given our small farm a name, Redwood Hill Farm. By the early 1970’s dad had built a small block dairy barn and we began bottling and selling raw milk in glass bottles to the then new natural food stores.
What inspires the products that you make?
The goats themselves, for one. They’re such fun and funny animals! They also have less impact on the land and the environment than cows do, and that’s something we want everyone to know. Also, the milk they produce is very healthful. It’s much closer to human milk than cow milk is, and is easily digested and delicious!
Do you have any new products on the horizon?
We have a new ‘sister brand’ called Green Valley Organics Lactose Free. With Green Valley Organics, we source organic, Humane Certified®, and grass fed cow milk from a dairy in Petaluma called Diamond W. Like Redwood Hill, Diamond W has been family owned for many generations with a beautiful herd of award-winning Holsteins that graze on 1700 acres of grass! We use a natural, overnight method to breakdown the often hard to digest lactose in the milk into simple sugars that nearly anyone with digestive health issues can enjoy. We make delicious, natural yogurt, kefir AND sour cream…all lactose free!
As for Redwood Hill Farm, we’re always having fun in the cheese room crafting new cheeses. Many of our customers have been asking for a low fat version of our classic goat milk yogurt. We believe in using the milk just as it comes from the goats, as unprocessed as possible. However, we also understand our customers’ needs. So we are looking into possibly offering a low fat version of our popular goat yogurt in the future.
Can people tour the farm?
Yes! Each year we open our farm for two or three weekends in the spring for our customers to come and see the goats, learn about our farm, and see where the goat products they eat every day come from. We have a lot of fun… picnics in the orchard, live music, demonstrations in our ‘Farm Kitchen’, a Kids Corner with a straw bale pyramid, samples of everything we make, and lots of kids (baby goats). This year’s dates are May 11 & 12 and also June 8 & 9. Details and directions to the farm are on our website: www.redwoodhill.com. No need to sign up but we do ask that everyone carpool or walk/bike to the farm as parking is limited.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
We’re celebrating two very exciting things this year that I’d love to share!
It is the 45th Anniversary of raising dairy goats on our family farm here in west Sonoma County!
And, beginning in April, all of the products we produce will be Certified Humane® by the Humane Farm Animal Care organization! We are especially proud of that. Also, we’re proud to have been the first goat dairy in the U.S. to become Certified Humane back in 2003. It is the ‘Gold Standard’ of third party humane certification programs and we believe the program improves the lives of farm animals by encouraging consumers to demand kinder and more responsible farm animal practices.