Garden Variety Cheese is a small farmstead business specializing in artisanal sheep cheeses - fresh and aged. Based in Northern Monterey County, the sheep and some members of a very small staff, live and graze on Monkeyflower Ranch - a 40 acre property of fields and fencing. Owner Rebecca King and her team began commercial milking and cheese production in March of 2009 and are in ever increasing demand for their flavorful, small batch goods.
At Garden Variety the sheep produce lovely, rich, sweet milk that makes fabulous cheese and yogurt. To ensure the health and well-being of the animals, and the high quality of the milk and cheese, the 100 milking ewes at Monkeyflower Ranch are fed on fresh pasture, alfalfa hay, organic brewer’s grain from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and organic corn from Modesto Milling. Each ewe is named after a garden flower and treated with love and respect. Each aged cheese is also named for a flower including the Hollyhock, Black-eyed Susan and Moon Flower cheese varieties. The dairy sheep at Garden Variety are seasonal producers - each individual sheep only gives milk for around six months of the year. This season King staggered the sheep breeding in hopes of having fresh milk for yogurt nearly year round. You can search out Garden Variety's delicious sheep yogurt and cheese at the Downtown Farmers' Market in Santa Cruz. Numerous grocery and natural foods stores, restaurants and cheese shops also carry their product.