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, California.
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, California. 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 Bice. “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 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, California, sold her business to Emmi in 2010. Keehn, a 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 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 put 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 yogurt brand.
Tapping into its expertise of making dairy for the digestively 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 ensuring the quality of life for its people, animals and the planet.