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Stepladder Creamery

A herd of pasture-raised LaMancha goats, as well as herds of Holstein and Jersey cows provide the milk for Jack and Michelle Rudoph’s Stepladder Creamery’s artisan cheeses. Among them are a creamy chèvre, triple-crèmes called Ragged Point and Big Sur, and a combination of goat’s and cow’s milk in the Spanish-style Cabrillo. Stepladder also raises heritage pigs for pork, Black Angus for beef, and grows Hass avocados and has an orchard of subtropical fruits.

Jack Rudolph is the third generation of his family to manage the ranch, which has been farmed since 1871 and once included Swiss and Italian dairy farmers that were part of a dairy cooperative. Farming came to Rudolph after working at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. He returned to his family’s land, located between Cambria and San Simeon, after his grandfather passed away, and he began to think up ways to keep the farm alive. He found them through learning to make cheese and hiring a great team, which includes former Jasper Hill cheesemaker Trevor Warmedahl and herd manager Sophie Worthington to bring out the best in the dairy. Rudolph’s experiment has paid off. Now, Stepladder cheeses are sold in markets from San Francisco to L.A. and at around twenty California farmers’ markets.

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