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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three flavors of kefir, several French-style cheeses, cheddar, smoked cheddar, feta and many flavors of fresh chevre—are produced in a solar-powered creamery. Since 2010, Redwood Hill has been generating 100 percent of the power needed to run the creamery. In addition to the solar power used to run the creamery and farm, the company has a number of other eco-initiatives, such as composting manure and straw or hay stems from smaller barns for use in its vegetable gardens, and using reclaimed water to clean areas where safe. While Redwood Hill has been forward-thinking with its sustainability measures, its most successful marketing effort hasn't changed since the 1970s. "Demos and sampling are still the most important to us," Bice says. "Today many people still think they don't like goat products—until they try them." The business also has a vibrant digital and social media program, which helps spread the word. It's had a website for more than a decade that was revamped five years ago. A year and a half ago the company launched a blog. Redwood Hill has active Facebook and Twitter accounts, managed by Bice's siblings. "David, who was a disc jockey in Hawaii until he started working with us in 2008, has the gift of gab, so he does our Facebook account and lots of our events," she says. Sister Sharon, an artist and graphic designer who designed the original kefir label when she was only 10 years old, came back to work with the business in the 1990s. She designed the website, revised package labels and creates Redwood's brochures. Two other Bice siblings have also returned to work for Redwood Hill. Shelley does customer service and office administration. And Scott, the youngest of the siblings, is the farm manager. "He's into orchards and plants so the farm has diversified thanks to him," says Bice. "We have different fruit trees and organic gardens [for the family and employees]. He started an organic olive orchard. We had our first "I couldn't fgure out anything I wanted to do except raise goats. But to raise goats, I had to have some way to make money."—Jennifer Bice olive pressing this year and want to look at a cheese rubbed in estate olive oil. We're doing R&D and experimenting while our olive orchard gets more prolific." The company now has 57 employees. Future Plans Along with olive-oil–rubbed cheese, Bice says Redwood Hill wants to add new products, but won't reveal details yet. "We are always going to do what we do and do it well so we're not reinventing the wheel. We love our farm and are always making small improvements. We have no plans to export—we don't want to ship all over the world," says the sustainability-focused business owner. Bice lives on the farm next to the barn that houses her award-winning herd of 300 Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian and Saanen goats. She says she knows all the animals by name. When asked for her secrets to success, Bice says: "Hard work and being passionate about what I do—so I work even when it's challenging. And we always try to have the best-tasting products. For that, there are no shortcuts." Like all business owners, Bice is mindful of the bottom line, but she subscribes to the triple bottom line—planet, people, profits—with an added "P" for pledge, referring to the Redwood Hill Farm Pledge. It states the family's commitment to producing healthy, delicious, natural dairy products of the highest quality, providing a sustainable environment and implementing practices for the benefit of the animals, the land and people. And celebrating 45 years in 2013, the business is staying true to that mission. Deborah Moss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and Shape. JULY/AUGUST 2013 141

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