Central Coast #2

4 Locations | 102 Miles

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Starting in the wine region of Paso Robles, head down a rural road to Black Market Cheese, where the tiny farm of sheep and goats makes other worldly cheeses, including cheese bonbons. There you can arrange a tasting, a farm tour, purchase cheese at their shop or even stay overnight in their on-farm lodging. From there, stopping in San Luis Obispo, pick up cheese at the university dairy drive-through - Cal Poly University Creamery - cheese made by students with milk from the college-educated bovines 😂. At the San Luis Obispo Public Market, you can get one of the many award-winning cheeses or cheesy menu items at the Central Coast Creamery shop which also features their own cheeses as well as those from next generation cheesemaker Shooting Star Creamery. If you still have energy and are willing to head to the coast, arrange a farm tour at Stepladder Creamery in Cambria, a couple of miles off of coastal Highway 1. This hidden gem of a ranch has goats, avocados and cheremoyas, as well as a farm stay. Remember, you don’t have to do these all at once. And you can start at any location.

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01Black Market Cheese Company

‍Black Market Cheese Co. is the passion project of Evan & Kristy Bishop. In 2013, they purchased a farm amidst the rolling hills and vineyards of Paso Robles wine country on the Central Coast of California. Over the past 10 years, they have worked to grow their flock of dairy sheep and goats, and work on traditional old world cheese recipes. In 2023, their new dairy 'Black Market Cheese Co.' became the most recent creameries in California and one of a very few making farmstead sheep's milk cheese. We are happy to announce we are now open to the public by appointment only between 10am-6pm Friday - Sunday and look forward to welcoming you to our farm and creamery.

02CalPoly University Creamery

Part of the largest dairy science program in the country, Cal Poly Creamery has been making cheese and other dairy products for students, alumni, and the community since 1903.The Creamery is both a teaching laboratory and a manufacturing plant licensed and inspected by the State of California for commercial production of dairy products. Cal Poly students follow the university's philosophy of "learning by doing" as they craft cheeses and take courses in all aspects of dairy science and technology (including, dairy production, dairy processing and manufacture of dairy products (e.g., fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream and ice cream) as part of their academic training under the supervision of dedicated faculty and staff in the dairy science department.

03Central Coast Creamery

Reggie Jones has worked in the dairy industry for 25 years. He started 1991 working in a lab for a cheese company. From there, he gained experience in all aspects of the dairy industry, from whey refining to bacteria culture sales. Reggie met his wife Kellie met while attending high school in Modesto, California. They later married and raised three daughters. In 2012, after dreaming of starting their own business for many years, the family moved to Paso Robles to build their creamery. Their daughter, Avert, recently started her own brand, Shooting Star Creamery, making cheese in the same creamery. Reggie and Kellie specialize in unique cheeses, blending different milks, and made in batches using just 500 gallons of milk at a time. All of the milk used is certified to be hormone (rBST) free. They have a retail shop at 3845 S. Higuera St #112 in San Luis Obispo, where you can purchase all their cheeses and more.

04Shooting Star Creamery

Shooting Star Creamery began with the hope of inspiring a younger generation to take up the art of creating delicious artisan cheese, and shares a location with Central Coast Creamery. Central Coast Creamery owner Reggie Jones asked his daughter, Avery Jones, if she wanted to try her hand at artisan cheese making. Soon, they set up a separate creamery that was based on Central Coast Creamery to allow Avery to take risks with the cheese as well as to have something to base her recipes on. They called this company Shooting Star Creamery to reflect on their belief of shooting for the stars. Avery is currently a college student who has been helping her father make cheese for nearly half of her life. She started making cheese to pay for her college education. She gives a percent of the profits to veterans and amputees in her community.

05Stepladder Creamery

Stepladder was originally founded in 1870 as a cattle ranch and part of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association. To this day, most of our 750 acre property is still free range grazing land. The property changed hands several times over the century, before Jack and Beverly Russell of the current operating family acquired it in the 1980s.

Jack and Beverly planted 40 acres of Hass avocados, which are visible from most places close to the creamery and goat pens. We have a unique subtropical microclimate in this valley, which allows us to grow a wide variety of crops. We grow over 200 varieties of citrus and subtropical fruits, including passion fruit, dragon fruit, guavas, bananas, and coffee. We also have one vacation rental which are available for rent.

Jack Russell passed away about 10+ years ago and the property was left to his three daughters and their families. His grandson, Jack Rudolph now operates the ranch with his wife Michelle. About 6 years ago, Jack and Michelle turned their hobby interest in farmstead cheesemaking into a licensed creamery operation. Starting with a small herd of 10 goats, we began by making a couple types of goat cheese. With each passing season our herd has grown, as has the variety of goat and cow’s milk cheeses we now produce in our creamery.