The Farm

Stepladder Ranch

When I first moved to the farm, my goal was to raise meat responsibly for personal consumption and for family and friends. I purchased a few Gloucester Old Spots and after a heavy wind storm that blew off hundreds of avocados in our orchards, I collected the damaged fruit and fed them to the pigs. The pigs were thrilled and that’s how our Avocado-Fed Pork came to be.

Michelle and I now raise a limited amount of heritage pigs on our property, with a range of pure and cross breeds of Red Wattle, Large Black, Gloucester Old Spot and Berkshire. Heritage breeds often have a higher fat content, which makes their meat more flavorful and moist. Our pigs aren't raised in confinement, which means happier, healthier animals and less environmental contamination. They live on a 12-acre forested pen overlooking Rocky Butte with plenty of room to roam in the sun and shade. They are 100% antibiotic and hormone free.

When we started the creamery, we wanted to recycle the protein-rich whey (a byproduct of cheese production) to the pigs. Now, their diet consists of fallen avocados and other fruits from the farm (although they are incredibly picky about citrus), whey, and pellet feed to ensure they get enough proper vitamins, proteins, and minerals. We raise them to about 250-300lbs. which is about 12-18 months of age. This ensures a large fat cap and muscle development making our pork extra marbled and rich. Since we now sell our pork locally in our Tasting Room and at limited California markets and farmers’ markets, we take them to our neighboring USDA facility to harvest on an as-needed basis. Each one of our pigs is given a healthy, happy life - and you are helping to change the food system and support a small family farm by consuming heritage pork from small farms like ours. As a company, our goals remain to create world class products for our community and to provide a positive and meaningful workplace for animals and humans alike.

As for our history, about 100 years ago, our ranch was a part of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association, which was a network of immigrant Swiss and Italian dairy farmers who grazed cattle on the lush coastal valleys of San Luis Obispo County. This Association was born out of a drought that forced ranchers to rethink how to make a living off of their land. We currently have just over forty acres of avocados on the property and we sell them across our farmers markets and limited California markets.

Thanks for supporting our farm and creamery.

-Jack & Michelle