Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 154 of 217

brand spotlight The Family Farm The goats quickly became the children's favorite. "Goats are like dogs. We used to dress them up and teach them to jump over things like in the circus," Bice recalls. The six children joined 4H with goats as their livestock project and the family quickly realized their herd was creating more goat milk than they knew what to do with. Fortunately, the health food movement was revving up, which created a business opportunity. "The stars aligned for us at that time because this was the moment when health food stores started opening up," Bice explains. "We had the milk, so we started bottling it and delivering it to those local health food stores." Thus, Redwood Hill Farm was born. As the eldest, Bice worked with her mother to sell the milk from their herd of 80 goats in four types (Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian and Saanen). By the time she was 15, her parents built a creamery and a small dairy on their farm with drains and slash walls so they could make a legal product from their own goat's milk. Bice, whose mother didn't drive, got her driver's license at 15 to deliver the goat's milk to some of the family's first customers, including Rainbow Grocery, Berkeley Natural and other Bay Area health food stores. The milk sales helped cover the expenses for the goats, but in the 1970s Bice's parents shut down the farm to move to Hawaii. During this time, she went from junior college to business college, and even worked for a veterinarian, trying to decide on a career. "I couldn't figure out anything I TOP-SELLING REDWOOD HILL PRODUCTS • Plain goat's milk yogurt (quart size) • Plain goat's milk kefir (quart size) • Raw goat's milk feta (pictured) • Fresh chevre 138 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com wanted to do except [raise] goats," says Bice. "But to [raise] goats, I had to have some way to make money." She started brainstorming with her husband, Steven Schack, to make the goat farm their full-time business. "Initially we thought bottled milk, but back in the '70s, not many people thought about goat's milk, so that couldn't sustain a full business," she explains. "But we figured if we sold goat cheese and yogurt to the same people interested in the milk, we could have a real business." Creating a New Family Enterprise By the end of the 1970s, Bice and Schack began renting her parents' farm and revived the Redwood Hill brand. In 1983 they bought the farm from her parents. Bice learned to make the cheese and yogurt by reading books, practicing in her own kitchen and taking a class. To make their raw goat milk, the couple used the existing creamery on the farm and worked with a nearby co-packing facility to make the yogurt and cheese. This relationship kept them from having to purchase new equipment to get their products off the ground.

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