Stepladder Ranch and Creamery is a third generation, family-owned and operated farm in Cambria on the central coast. Jack Russell purchased the property in the early 1980s and converted it into a thriving avocado and cattle ranch. Currently, his grandson Jack Rudolph operates the farm with his partner Michelle Angell and they have added a farmstead creamery, subtropical fruits, and free-range pork to their operation. The ranch is 740 acres, with 50 of them in orchards, and the remainder in rangeland and woodlands. Stepladder grows specialty citrus, avocados, passionfruit, cherimoya, kiwis, and mulberries. The land was first homesteaded in the 1860s and was part of the Swiss-Italian dairy heritage of the central coast.
Head Dairyman and Cheesemaker, Jack first discovered his love for goats after visiting a goat dairy in Northern California with his sister. Shortly thereafter, he began procuring fresh goat milk and making his own cheeses at home while working at a tech startup in Palo Alto. Quickly finding himself drawn to cheesemaking more than anything else, Jack decided to purchase his own goats and move to Stepladder Ranch to take over his grandfather’s ranch operations and build a creamery and dairy. Jack’s connection to his goats is greatly apparent, and the cheese he makes is a result of the strong relationship and bond he has built with his herd today.