Standard of Excellence
Healthy, happy goats make the best milk and the best milk makes the most nourishing and delicious dairy products. That’s why we only work with farms with high standards for animal care and sustainability. Seven different family farms supply us goat milk, including the original Redwood Hill Farm, which is only a few miles away from our creamery in Sebastopol, California. While each farm brings a unique history and perspective to goat dairying, they all share a few things in common.
Every farm that supplies milk to our creamery is Certified Humane®. That means they undergo annual inspections to ensure humane and responsible practices are used. The original Redwood Hill Farm helped set the standard for goat welfare when it became the first goat dairy in the United States to be designated Certified Humane® in 2005.
No Antibiotics or Hormones in Feed
Our farms only use feed that is free from antibiotics and hormones. Routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones in livestock feed can pollute waters, disrupt ecological balance, and lead to public health issues like antibiotic-resistant bacteria1.
Fibers and Food
By nature, goats are browsers (like deer), not grazers like cows and sheep. Our farms feed them a nutritious, vegetarian diet that consists of about 70% fibers, which includes brush, leaves, almond hulls, oat hay, and alfalfa hay. The other 30% of their diet consists of a variety of grains, which may include safflower meal, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn, and soy depending on the mix.
Raising dairy goats is a labor of love that doesn’t lend itself to large, industrial-scale farming. Goats have a lighter impact on the land than cows, due to their small size and eating habits, and can happily coexist in biodiverse farming systems. Because of their smaller scale, goat farms can avoid problems caused by intensive feeding operations like air and groundwater pollution.1 Research suggests that choosing to raise goats over other dairy animals could minimize negative environmental outcomes associated with livestock production.2
At the original Redwood Hill Farm, goats are raised to live comfortably into old age producing delicious milk. Older goats that no longer give milk are allowed to “retire” and live out their days relaxing on the farm. Pictured here is Ranita, the matriarch of six generations at Redwood Hill Farm. Ranita lived to the ripe old age of 15.
1 Hribar, Carrie. “Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities.” National Association of Local Boards of Health, 2010.
2Darcan, N.K. and Nissim Silanikove. “The Advantages of Goats for Future Adaptation to Climate Change.” Small Ruminant Research, Elsevier, 2017.