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Play with goats & taste goat cheese at small San Simeon ranch

Posted at 10:43 AM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2021-03-07 23:54:20-05


If you’re looking for a unique family outing, kids’ field trip or co-worker team-building activity, you might find your answer on a little ranch in rural San Simeon. 


Visitors to Stepladder Ranch and Creamery are immediately greeted by dozens of kids. By kids, we mean baby goats that are undeniably cute. 


"These were all born anywhere from two to five months ago so they’re all still very young," tour guide Whitney Buswell told visitors. 


The farm offers a comprehensive tour of its operations, beginning with meeting some of the 70 goats who live there. 


If you go, remember your camera and wear clothes you’re comfortable getting a little dirty and covered in goat cuddles. 


Visitors will walk away with new knowledge about goats. 


"Goats are browsers, so more like deer where they eat up high so they eat like poison oak and the shrubbery," Buswell told her tour group. 


Michelle Rudolph owns and operates Stepladder Ranch & Creamery with her husband. The couple’s goal is to give visitors an educational and fun experience. 


"You really get to learn what a princess dairy goat looks like and support a really small business," Rudolph told KSBY. 


After playing with the goats, the tour heads into the milking stand. 


"So a goat will come over, put her head down and it opens that third spot," Buswell said as she explained the milking process to the group. 


While Rudolph calls her goats "princesses," she and the staff say the animals are hard workers. 


"They definitely have a hierarchy and they’ll kind of vie for that first slot in the milking stand," said Buswell. 


Steps away from the milking stand, you can watch cheesemakers turn goat milk into goat cheese. 


Stepladder Creamery makes eight types of goat cheese and you get to try a few of them at the end of a tour. They’re all available for purchase in the creamery’s farm stand along with seasonal produce and honey. 


"It’s kind of cool that the cheese is sold literally a foot away from where it’s made," said Rudolph. 


If you’re interested in visiting Stepladder Ranch & Creamery, book a tour online


You can also pick up Stepladder products at the Cambria, Los Osos, Templeton and Santa Barbara farmers’ markets and other stores specializing in locally-made goods.