Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery Acquired by Farmer-Owned Swiss Dairy Maker Emmi
Founder Jennifer Bice finds like-minded partner to carry on her focus on people, quality and sustainability
Sebastopol, California, December 1, 2015 – Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery’s Founder, Jennifer Bice, announced today that she has chosen Switzerland-based Emmi to acquire her company, which will become an independently operated subsidiary of Emmi Holding (USA), Inc. The makers of the nation’s leading goat milk dairy brand, Redwood Hill Farm, and the nation’s leading organic lactose-free cow dairy brand, Green Valley Organics, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery will continue business as usual at their creamery’s location in Sebastopol, CA.
Bice has committed to stay on as head of the company, overseeing day-to-day operations for several years until she retires, retaining ownership of her farm and 300 goats. The company’s entire leadership team will remain in place, with all employees retained and all jobs secure for the community in west Sonoma County, CA. Emmi and Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery have agreed to keep the terms of the acquisition confidential.
“My succession decision is the result of years of careful planning and research,” says Jennifer Bice, Founder of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery. “More than anything,” she continues, “I wanted to ensure that, after I retire, Redwood Hill will continue to thrive as a Sonoma County business, a community resource, and that we can continue our efforts to make pure, wholesome and organic food more accessible and affordable throughout the United States.”
Bice, who starting in 1978 grew her parents’ goat dairy farm from a 4-H project to a national brand, found the ideal succession partner in Emmi. The 108-year old company is to this day majority owned by a cooperative of small-scale dairy farmers in Switzerland who farm between 10 and 50 cows. As one of the most innovative premium dairy makers in Europe, Emmi produces a full line of dairy in the Swiss, European and other international markets.
“I am entirely confident that Emmi is the right choice for Redwood Hill’s future, as ours is a relationship of trust,” says Jennifer Bice, “I feel completely aligned with Emmi’s very high standards for quality, their strong emphasis on employees and their commitment to sustainability. Most importantly, they have encouraged us to maintain the way we do business here at Redwood Hill.”
“Redwood Hill Farm is a jewel in the U.S. dairy community, built by Jennifer Bice,” says Matthias Kunz, Vice President Americas of Emmi, “With dedication to Sonoma County and its people, she pioneered the U.S. goat movement from the start with compassion for employees and a sustainable environment. We are really humbled to have been chosen as the partner for Redwood Hill’s future and are very pleased to be able to count on Jennifer and her team for the next years.”
Mary Keehn, Founder of Cypress Grove Chevre in Humboldt County, CA, sold her business to Emmi in 2010. Keehn, the fellow pioneer of goat cheesemaking and Jennifer Bice’s friend, chose the same succession path.
“Creating a company felt much like raising a child,” says Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Chevre, “With Emmi’s financial and strategic support, we have been able to send that child to Stanford rather than our local Community College. We now have a Certified Humane, showcase dairy, a state-of-the art creamery and have been able to increase our workforce by more than a dozen employees, which creates much needed jobs in our community.”
Once a small niche product, Redwood Hill Farm brought goat milk dairy products on the map, which are now sold nationwide. Redwood Hill Farm’s quart-sized plain goat milk yogurt is the number one selling large yogurt in the Natural Food Channel in the United States today, compared to any other goat or cow milk dairy brand.
Tapping into its expertise of making dairy for the digestibly diverse, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery launched its lactose-free cow dairy brand, Green Valley Organics, in 2010. Above all, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery strives for highest quality in its minimally processed dairy products, while insuring the quality of life for its people, animals and the planet.
About Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery
Located in Sonoma County among the picturesque redwood trees of the Northern California Coast, 60 miles north of San Francisco, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery is a different kind of dairy. It began in 1968 as a small, family farm run by the Bice family, producing delicious, award-winning goat milk dairy products and is operated by Founder Jennifer Bice to this day. Excellence is a top priority and Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery takes pride in producing the best tasting, least processed goat milk yogurt, kefir and artisan cheeses. The company focuses on supporting Sonoma county workers and community organizations, small-scale dairy farmers, and the dietary needs of consumers.
Made by Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery is also its sister brand, Green Valley Organics. Green Valley Organics lactose-free, real dairy yogurts, kefirs, sour cream and cream cheese were created so people with lactose intolerance could bring real dairy back into their lives, enjoying its health benefits and great taste free of digestive troubles. Green Valley Organics is made with Flourish®, the company’s custom blend of 10 live and active cultures that delivers billions of probiotics in every cup.
Both Redwood Hill Farm and Green Valley Organics dairy products are made at the company’s solar-powered creamery in Sebastopol, California, with milk that carries the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label. Redwood Hill Farm was the first goat dairy in the United States to become Certified Humane in 2005.
Emmi is the largest Swiss milk processor and one of the most innovative premium dairies in Europe. In Switzerland, the company focuses on the development, production and marketing of a full range of dairy and fresh products as well as the production, aging and trade of primarily cheeses from Switzerland. Outside Switzerland, Emmi concentrates on brand concepts and specialties in established European and North American markets, and increasingly in emerging markets outside of Europe. The primary focus in fresh products is on natural, lifestyle, convenience and health products. In the cheese business, Emmi positions itself as the leading company worldwide for cheeses from Switzerland. Emmi’s customers are the retail trade, the hospitality and food service sector and the food industry.
In Switzerland, the Emmi Group includes around 25 production sites of every size. Abroad, Emmi and its subsidiaries have a presence in 13 countries, seven of which have production facilities. Emmi exports products to around 60 countries from Switzerland. Emmi goes back to 1907, when 62 dairy farmers in central Switzerland formed a cooperative that would later become the company “Emmi”. To this day, Emmi is majority-owned by a cooperative of small-scale dairy farmers who farm an average of 22 cows.
Helen Lentze, Director of Communications
+1 (707) 823-8250 ext.107
Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery: www.redwoodhill.com
Green Valley Organics: www.greenvalleylactosefree.com
Cypress Grove Chevre: www.cypressgrovechevre.com/