Tag Archives: Farm to Table

GoatHouse Brewing Co

November 2017  By Elizabeth Smith

One of my first weekend trips to Placer County, California, included a stop at GoatHouse Brewing, which recently celebrating four years in business.

A few visits later, after their Farm Yoga experience, I caught up with co-owner, Catherine Johnson, about what it’s like to live the dream: owning a craft brewery which produces its own hops and raises its own goats, far removed from her past life living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

FullSizeRender (3)How did GoatHouse Brewing come about? Why goats and beer?

Michael and I were in the Bay Area rat race and knew we wanted something different for our life and young family. We met and fell in love over beer, and Michael has brewed since before he was old enough to buy (now over 30 years)! We knew we wanted space and a great community to raise our family. Being connected to where our food (or beer in this case) comes from has always been important — food or beer just doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store. I make cheese, so goats were the obvious choice. Hops are needed as beer isn’t beer without hops, and thus, the dream began!

Why Placer County/Lincoln, California?

We looked all over the state of California and we fell in love with the schools, community, and competitive landscape around us. We wanted rural farmland, yet close enough to city comforts and school sports, etc. The farmland around us is rich with mandarins, lavender farms, wineries, and many other innovative uses.

Why did you decide to offer farm yoga with the goats? Has it been successful? In what ways?

Farm Yoga evolved because we have tons of goats and beer! A good friend was recently certified as a yoga instructor, we got to talking (and maybe having a cold one), and the idea took shape. Farm Yoga at GoatHouse has been very well received and hopefully people enjoy it as much as we do! Animals don’t fake affection — when they choose to spend time with you, enjoying a rub, nibbling on edge of shirt, enhancing a stretch, etc. — it is genuine.

FullSizeRenderApproximately much and how many different beers do you produce annually?

GoatHouse Brewing is a 3BBL nano-brewery. We grow 20 different varieties of hops. We brew small-batch seasonal beer as a farm brewery based in agriculture. We use 90% of the hops we grow onsite, bringing in only those that are proprietary and patented. We also use seasonal fruit from our orchard such as mandarins. Most years, we brew 40-50 different styles, with only one being on tap 100% of the time, Darkside, our stout, our favorite to drink and brew! The rest comes and goes with the season.

How do you come up with the names of your beers, such as Wet N’ EZ, Honey Baby, Jackin’ Jill, Amberillo, Philip D’Glass, and Dirtbag Red?

Songs, life, kids, inside jokes, nicknames, family, riffs on just about anything. Typically, it starts a bit inappropriate, some vetoing that goes on, then we lock in and go!

We are craft beer manufacturers and hop farmers, so at least two businesses rolled into one, but beer helps make the world go around!

Do you have children and are they involved in the business?

We have two kids, Nolan, 14 and Amelia, 11. They help with Farm Yoga and most of the critter care on the farm. Nolan is on a USA swim team and he’s thankfully strong to haul hay bales. Amelia has no fear and can wrangle a goat like no one’s business (might be from her competitive soccer playing skills). They also grow pumpkins and have a farm stand in the brewery where they pick fruit from the onsite orchard, or veggies from our large garden to sell. They save their money to buy new seeds for the next year or something special.

IMG_1452Tell me more about the goats. What kind of goats, etc.?  Do you produce (or sell) any goat products such as milk and cheese?

The goats are all dairy goats. The plan was to open a small-batch dairy, but currently the regulations are hundreds of thousands of dollars and price prohibitive, so we are not licensed, nor do we sell any milk products. All hope is not lost, but development is currently on pause. In the meantime, we eat a lot of cheese with our beer! Our daughter has three Nigerian dwarf goats from 4H and their milk is like heavy cream. Alpines and La Manchas make up the bulk of the herd and their milk is sweet and plentiful – no funky aftertaste. Despite their reputation, our goats are very picky eaters and VERY spoiled.

What are the challenges you face as a local craft brewer?

Being one of the only true farm-to-tap breweries in the State of California – where the farming and brewing happen on the same land – has been challenging as the government isn’t really set up for innovation or the unknown. Being tenacious and the first to market has been character building as my mother says! We are craft beer manufacturers and hop farmers, so at least two businesses rolled into one, but beer helps make the world go around!

 Do you sell your beers only at the brewery?

The majority, yes. Since we are based in agriculture, production is limited. The old farming model was that the farms brought food to the people. Today, people like to come to the farms to see where everything is produced. It’s a connection that has been lost in society that we are hoping to rebuild. People don’t know how hops grow, so it’s a bonus to share the knowledge while they are enjoying a beer on the farm.

What other events do you offer at the brewery?

We are starting to work on some beer pairing events with local farmers and a fantastic farm-to-table chef. More to come, so stay tuned!

Is GoatHouse Brewing everything you dreamed it would be?

GoatHouse Brewing is exactly and more than what we planned extensively for and dreamed of. Our unique business model, as the first in the state, has been very well received and our passion and love for what we do, we hope, shines through. With all the planning we did, the one thing that surprised us, and continues to surprise us, is the outpouring of love and support from our customers. It is truly staggering and we are honored to be part of so many celebrations: engagements on a regular day in the brewery, baby showers, and birthday parties for the young and old.

600 Wise Road, Lincoln CA | info@goathousebrewing.com | Goathousebrewing.com

Michael and Catherine Johnson  |  Tasting Room open Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun


Elizabeth Smith HSElizabeth Smith is a French and Spanish professor turned wine professional. In 2013, her part-time role as executive assistant to a wine broker and importer became her stepping stone into the wine business. She moved to the Napa Valley from Virginia in January 2014 to begin her new full-time winery career. Elizabeth holds a doctoral degree in community college education from George Mason University as well as Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s advanced wine certification. She is currently the wine club and social media manager at Ehlers Estate and writes about wine tourism and wine for various online media outlets, usually while sipping wine with her cat, Einstein, by her side.
Follow Elizabeth at TravelingWineChick.com and AmericanWineryGuide.com

Farm to Table: A True Story, Part II by Paul Rest

paul-iiIf you missed Part I, you can find it here.

When I would visit my my mother’s mother, my grandmother, things were different from my home life. This is where I first really learned about farm to table, although it wasn’t exactly “farm” to table, it was more like “garden and hen-house in the back” to table.

When the bank’s collapsed during the Great Depression, many people all over America lost all of their savings. As a result, there simply wasn’t a lot of money to go around, and out of necessity people quickly learned how to become as self-sufficient as possible. What was harvested from the back yard is what showed up on the dinner table, and what you didn’t have in the pantry, was bartered for.

Shoes were repaired since money was not available for a new pair. Tires had to be patched and re-patched, so services and goods were traded/bartered. The cobbler traded his services for bushels of corn. Your tire was patched by the service station man in trade for a week’s supply of eggs. You had this and your neighbor had that, so you trade. It all happened locally, probably within a mile or two as the crow flies.

What little money was available went for staples like salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil and similar items. Grocery stores sold a lot on credit, praying that one-day the economy would return and the banks would again reopen. Later, during WWII, backyard gardens became “Victory Gardens,” supplying families with as much as possible so farm goods could go to the war effort. By the time I came along, my grandmother could still be found in her garden with her rows of corn, beans, lettuces, tomatoes, squash, carrots, beets, watermelon, cucumbers, onions, potatoes plus various herbs. She would go out in the morning after breakfast and walk up and down the rows either talking to what was growing or just checking everything out. Maybe she was doing a bit of both.

After morning chores, she would return to the garden and begin harvesting for lunch. A glorious salad would soon appear with a simply oil and vinegar dressing. My assignment was to wash the lettuce and tomatoes and then dry them. Lunch might be sandwiches with cold cuts (luncheon meats) with cheese from the market down the street. Or, it could be cold left overs from the night before. Lunch tended to be non-stove use time to keep the heat level down in the house. After lunch and dishes were washed, dried and put away (I was the dish drier), my grandmother would do more chores and would disappear for a while, probably to take a short nap.

Around 4 o’clock she’d call out my name, summoning me from wherever I was hiding from the sweltering afternoon heat and humidity. Walking behind her with a basket under my arm, we’d move down the rows again. Corn would be selected, but only after she peeled  back the tassels on an ear to make sure the corn’s ripeness suited her. If a vegetable wasn’t ripe enough for her, she’d often let go with her most powerful expletive. “Land of Goshen!” It was as if the vegetable hadn’t performed to her expectation. Strangely, it was usually ready (and ripe) the next day. A squash or two would be picked and added to the growing weight of my basket. About this time she’d turn to me and say, “Here honey, let me take that.” Pulling her hand hoe from somewhere under her apron, potatoes would be unearthed. Finally, we’d move to the radishes or beans. There were string beans and yellow beans and lima beans, all climbing on polls way beyond my reach.

A galvanize tub was filled with cold water and I was instructed to begin washing the vegetable with a brush by the kitchen door. A black hose was put in the tub to provide an ongoing flow of fresh water. While I was going this, sitting on this old creaky old wooden stool, she would go in the kitchen and begin boiling water. About the time I was tackling the potatoes, she would emerge and walk towards the hen-house. A chop or two later, we were one step closer to a fried chicken dinner.

The chickens would be held upside down and then brought over to where I was sitting. Another galvanized tub was brought from the basement. Walking to and from the kitchen, the tub was filled with hot water. The chickens were dipped in the water and she began pulling the feathers out. After she was done with most of the feathers, my next job was to get the hard to get ones. Apparently she thought my smaller and more nimble fingers were best for this job.

After I was done, I’d wrap the chickens in a clean towel and bring them to the kitchen where she’d clean and then cut them up before drying the pieces off. Next, the potatoes would be peeled and cut up and put in boiling water. I returned to the outside and my creaky stool where I shucked the corn. These would go in another pot of boiling water. By quarter to six the chicken pieces had been dredged in flour, salt and pepper and were in the cast iron skillets frying happily away. Soon the potatoes would be drained and mashed followed by the corn. A salad of cut vegetables covered with apple cider vinegar, salt, paper and sprinkled with sugar appeared on the table. At 5 minutes before the hour I’d be handed a big bowl of mashed potatoes with a small lake a melted butter on top. Next a big bowl with the ears of corn would be handed to me followed by a small bowel of the radishes in ice-cold water. Finally, a small mountain of fried chicken stacked on a platter would be put down on the table.

Exactly at 6 o’clock, my grandfather would walk through the kitchen door. “Dinner ready Eve,” he asked, using his name of endearment for her. Right after my grandfather entered, my parents and brother and sister would appear. After grace, we’d dig in. Oh, the time she was gone, it turns out she made a strawberry pie, now cooling off on the far counter mostly out of my eyesight (she knew me all too well). And there was whipped cream in the refrigerator too.

This is how I learned farm and garden, to table. And boy, was the food ever delicious. A big hug to you Grandma for giving me this gift– wherever you are.

Paul Rest lives in Sonoma County, California. He has been enjoying California wines and foods since arriving in California. He can be contacted at paulfrederickrest@gmail.com.

Written by Paul Rest / Edited, Karie Engels Giffin

Farm to table: A true story by Paul Rest

Part I

paulDecades before there was what we know of today as “farm to table,” most Americas lived that way.

What I mean is, there was little separation from what showed up on the dinner table because of where we lived, and what we ate. Outside of big cities like New York, Chicago and St. Louis, what we ate came from what we grew, or from  neighbors and friends.

Shopping involved buying supplies like flour, oil, salt, pepper, what were called “essentials.” What we now purchase when we shop like eggs, butter, meat and poultry, vegetables and fruit, these were all seasonally grown and harvested then. Most houses had both a pantry where items were placed so they would be handy, and a cellar where canned jars of tomatoes, fruits and other items were stored for later use during the winter months. And of course there were crocks of pickles, beets and other root vegetables waiting for just that right moment.

The continued flow of produce and fruits at our local market is the miracle of transportation that sources from different growing climates. When it is winter here, it is summer somewhere else. Containers, often filled with inert gas(es), are flown and shipped from one point to another on the globe. It appears we have an endless summer when we walk through the vegetable isles in our markets. The same is true with fish, poultry and meats. It is always there, displayed before our eyes, either wrapped or unwrapped. From feed pens to the slaughterhouse to the butcher to our table, the supply chain has been built to offer us, the consumer, a cornucopia of beef, pork, chicken and fish.

Somewhere around the 1960’s, perhaps this had to do with the growth of suburban sprawl, consumption became more about shopping than asking where or how this all came to our grocers. It was easier to move down the isles, selecting this cereal or that can of coffee or this package of meat based on convenience and price. Those in the grocery business and food supply chain knew what we wanted and provided it. It was all so easy.

I grew up in a small town in Missouri and our household was filled with seasonal fruits ( cherries, peaches, plums and pears) and vegetables brought over from the neighbors’ surplus crops.

My dad loved rhubarb pie so we had a patch growing down along the fence in the lower yard. Summer and fall canning were a yearly ritual, and our neighbor across the street hunted and fished. He brought over squirrel, rabbit, deer and fillets from sturgeon and bass. Everyone shared.

At some point, I remember my mother beginning to rely more and more on the local I.G.A. and Kroger stores for shopping. It was the growing trend at that time and at just a five minutes drive, it was convenient. Frozen vegetables, frozen fish, bread baked in St. Louis and brought by trucks along with milk and dairy products (including eggs) from distant locations became part of our diets. The I.G.A. market may have had local meats, but the Kroger store’s meats probably came from Chicago or Kansas City. The “local” was disappearing from our table and from the tables of our neighbors.

I don’t remember all the particulars of this happening. But I do remember what we ate began to taste differently. Now I realize what this was: It just didn’t taste as good.

Read Part II here!

Paul Rest lives in Sonoma County, California. He has been enjoying California wines and foods since arriving in California. He can be contacted at paulfrederickrest@gmail.com.

10th Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection on March 21st at Bastyr University in Kenmore

Event Generates $1 Million in New Sales Annually for Local Food Industry

farmer fisher chef logoOn Monday, March 21st, FORKS will present the 10th Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection at Bastyr University in Kenmore. Known as F2C2, the full day event brings together regional food and beverage producers with businesses seeking to buy direct from them. The event is attended by food producers and buyers from Portland to Port Townsend, Seattle to Spokane, Bellevue to Bellingham and all points in between.

“Our region boasts an incredible number of people who take pride in producing amazing food while focusing on sustainable business practices,” says Chef Justin Newstrum, President of FORKS, which stands for Fields, Oceans, Ranches, Kitchens, Stewards. “The challenge for many of these independent food producers is finding time to make new business connections when their daily tasks take all the time they have and then some. F2C2 offers a space for producers and potential buyers to meet and develop new sales relationships. In addition to creating a networking opportunity, F2C2 offers guests educational sessions that address the nuts and bolts of the business of good food.”

Biologist and author Thor Hanson will be this year’s keynote speaker. A Pacific Northwest native, Hanson’s research has taken him to Central America, Africa, Alaska and many other places that don’t begin with the letter ‘A.’ His most recent book is The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History. His presentation will offer a look at the coevolution of seeds and humans and why the seemingly humble seed is the keystone of civilization.

This year, the F2C2 program will include educational sessions on topics for restaurants and food and beverage producers such as how to reduce waste while increasing profits; strategies for making the most of farmers markets; and how to stay on top of social media. A structured business-to-business networking session is always vibrant, and past surveys have shown it to result annually in $1 million in new sales in the region annually.

“F2C2’s annual gathering offers us a chance to meet potential new customers and connect face-to-face with current customers,” said Nick and Sara Jones of Jones Family Farms. “Each year we look forward to the event sessions. At F2C2 we connect with industry folks and see what’s happening on the ground in Seattle. The event is more than worth our while to help expand and strengthen our business.”

F2C2 is not all presentations and panels. As a food industry focused event, the food is an integral part of the day. Attendees are greeted with a buffet breakfast and treated to ‘the best lunch of the year,’ all provided by attending food producers and prepared by local chefs. After F2C2 wraps up for the day, guests are invited to take part in a tasting reception featuring bites and sips of local food and beverages sampled directly by their producers. Included in the tasting will be beer, oysters, wine, cheese, cider, sausages, spirits, fermented foods, sweets, coffee, other nonalcoholic drinks, and more. The tasting reception offers the guests a chance to continue networking at a more casual pace and recap the day’s sessions.

The full agenda for F2C2 is available on the FORKS website. If you would like to be on the mailing list to receive announcements and updates about F2C2, please sign up at http://seattlechefs.org

About FORKSFORKS (Fields Oceans Ranches Kitchens Stewards) works with chefs and the greater food community to celebrate local foods and foster a more sustainable food supply. The Washington based nonprofit organization inspires action by translating information about our food into tools for making knowledgeable purchasing decisions. Through these actions, our members embrace seasonality, preserve diversity and traditional practices, and support local economies. Learn more about FORKS at http://seattlechefs.org

Foraging in nature’s pantry on Farm to Table, Field to Plate

farm croppedExcitement has been building for quite some time as we move forward in to new territory. With two projects to bring what we do to both the reader and the viewer, one of my “babies”, Farm to Table, Field to Plate, has finally matured. Partnering with Captain Kelly Barnum, we are co-hosting a great new series, which focuses on creating delicious cuisine, direct from nature’s pantry.

Each episode of Farm to Table, Field to Plate, focuses on the principal of getting back to the basics of gathering what we eat. 

Long before the commercial movement began, and before “dinner in a box” could be purchased from your local grocery, what we now call “organic” was the only sustenance available to man. It wasn’t a word, it was a way of life and contained zero chemicals.
photo (1)Whether we are angling for seafood like salmon, tuna, halibut or  harvesting meat such as  venison, chicken, or pork, viewers will tag along as we hunt, fish or gather these exceptional animals.  The entire experience will focus on the adventure and incredible quest.

After harvesting our bounty, Farm to Table, Field to Plate hosts, and a guest personality will show you a multitude of ways to prepare and cook what we have brought in to the kitchen, creating delicious cuisine for the entire family.

Capt. Kelly Barnum and/or Karie Engels will design and build a meal to be prepared with or by a guest personality that consist of a protein, two side dishes, optional dessert, and a cocktails.  We will feature basic preparations and everyday cooking by world class artists, personalities and outdoor enthusiasts that showcase the raw beauty of our ingredients.

gardenHunt, fish, gather and cook with us as we inspire you to get back to basics, revisit old and create new traditions.  So come along with us, explore what nature has to offer and learn how to create your own garden space, so that you too can, eat what you grow, and grow what you eat.

You can find Farm to Table, Field to Plate on Comcast Sportsnet beginning in August 2014. We will keep you posted on exact dates and times.

Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/FarmtoTableandFieldtoPlate     For more information, see Downloadable Content Below.

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