The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

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s p r i n g / s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 | 4 7 MEET YOUR MAKERS Jennifer Lynn Bice Owner of Redwood Hills Farm in Sonoma County, CA CREATING A FOOD PRODUCT THAT IS loved by millions of people and reviled by just as many can be a formidable task for some, but Hudson Valley Foie Gras gladly takes on the challenge. Back in 1982, before foie gras was a delicacy served in upscale restaurants across America, Izzy Yanay started the first foie gras farm in the United States. It was also the first foie gras company in the world to raise ducks and produce foie gras all in one location, and in 1990, it became Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Hudson Valley's Moulard ducks are a cross between the Muscovy and Pekin ducks, according to Jenny Chamberlain, Chef of Product Development: "The Moulard is an ideal breed for foie gras due their flavor, big- ger size, and they're actually less susceptible to disease." The farm is home to over 100,000 ducks at any given time, with 5,000 of them being processed a week. While animal rights groups might focus on the alleged mistreatment by farms that raise ducks for foie gras, Chamberlain explains, "We have an open-door policy at the farm. Anyone is welcome to come by and see how the process works." A law passed in 2004 and enacted in 2012 made it illegal to produce or sell foie gras in California. "It was hard on us," Chamberlain admitted. "California is home to some of the top restaurants in the country, and when they could no longer serve foie gras, we took a hit." On January 7, 2015, the ban was lifted, and Hudson Valley Foie Gras is now back in California. Jenny Chamberlain Chef of Product Development for Hudson Valley Foie Gras in Ferndale, NY JENNIFER LYNN BICE'S LOVE OF GOATS STARTED YOUNG, when she and her nine siblings joined 4-H in the small town of Sebastopol, CA and began raising goats. With 50 or 60 goats on their property in such a tight- knit community, it wasn't a surprise that local health food stores started calling the family asking for goat milk, which was much less commercially available in the late 1960s. The family built a legal dairy, and began selling raw goat milk in glass bottles to stores. Although the dairy closed down after a few years when Bice's parents re- tired in 1978, Bice and her husband reopened the dairy with the help of four of her siblings. Redwood Hill Farms was born, making yogurt and cheese for the few people out there who ate goat milk products at the time. Redwood Hill Farms' business grew exponentially in the 1980s, when the rise of California cuisine and restau- rants such as Chez Panisse started using goat cheese in their dishes, changing the perception of the cheese from "medicinal" to a fancy food product. Redwood Hill Farms now produces yogurt, kefir, French-style rind-ripened cheese, fresh chèvre, feta and more from their goats' milk. "We have 300 goats on the farm," Bice explains, "and we've bred from the same goats—four registered types of purebreds: Alpine, Nubian, Faanen and La Mancha— that we've had on the farm since I was a child." These days, Redwood Hills is the first certified humane goat dairy in the United States, with 100% of their en- ergy coming from renewable resources. Although the creamery was sold to a coalition of Swiss dairy farmers this past December, Bice still owns the farm and the goats, where she can recognize each and every one, just likes in her childhood days. Bice laughs. "Sometimes I feel like it's just an overgrown 4-H project." Introducing the people across the country behind the food we love to eat by Jesse Hom-Dawson COURTESY OF REDWOOD HILLS FARM COURTESY OF HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS ■cr

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