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Say cheese, California-style

Americans love cheese, and nowhere is the love for the all-American dairy product more visible than in California.



The Golden State now produces nearly one out of every four pounds of cheese made in the U.S. And specialty cheeses are becoming particularly popular, as people learn there's more to the world of cheese than single-wrapped pieces of cheddar. Cheeseheads of all education levels get to unite every day at the Cheese School in San Francisco.

"The Cheese School of San Francisco is a novel concept," said author and instructor Laura Werlin, "and whenever I mention it to somebody, they ask, 'There's a whole school devoted to cheese? Where do I sign up?' And it's true. It's a magnificent school devoted entirely to teaching people about cheese."

The first of its kind in the nation, the Cheese School works alongside the retail outlet, Cheese Plus, to inspire folks to branch out to the world of asiago, havarti, Romano and a whole lot more.

One of the fastest-growing types of specialty cheese is goat cheese. And at the forefront of this trend is Redwood Hill Farm in Sonoma. In the self-proclaimed premier wine destination of California, grapes have been leveraged for goats. It all began in 1968, when Jennifer Bice was a young 4-H'er and her parents moved from Los Angeles and started their farm. Today it's still a family-run operation, with Jennifer making the cheese, her brother Scott running the farm and her sister Sharon in charge of marketing.

"It started out as this small family business and it's grown into this huge thing. It's just really neat to be a part of," Scott Bice said.

So no matter what kind of cheese you think tastes the best, it no doubt is the product of an amazing amount of work, devotion and dedication from some pretty creative people and creatures.

For more information about Redwood Hill Farm, visit www.redwoodhill.com
For more information about the Cheese School, visit www.cheeseschoolsf.com
For more information about Cheese Plus, visit www.cheeseplus.com

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