Discovered Treasure: Backyard Selection Sheep Yogurt Popsicles

Blackberry sheep milk yogurt popsicle in Santa Cruz (Photograph: Mark C. Anderson)

Could 27, 2022 – Three phrases: sheep yogurt popsicles.

The easy risk electrified my tastebuds. The day had simply gotten higher.

Earlier than the popsicles got here into play, it was already a special occasion on the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers Market, which occurs 1-6pm Wednesdays at Cedar and Lincoln, a block off Pacific.

Between the simple farmer-customer camaraderie, impressed tattoos, finger-picking guitar, completely happy infants, purple pony tails, beautiful produce, and strong prepped meals choices, each installment of the since-1990 market presents fairly a scene. As one longtime attendee informed me on the way in which there, “It provides you the true really feel of Santa Cruz.”

However maybe as a result of it was April 20, aka 4/20, it felt extra-special Santa Cruzy: The solar was out, the vibes have been robust, and shirtless tans and naked ft have been multiplying. 

The nice and cozy day additionally amplified my popsicle urge for food. Once I noticed the sandwich board signal asserting them, I made a beeline. Once I noticed who was promoting them, it was a performed deal. 

Farmers’ market cheese stall (Photograph: Mark C. Anderson)

Backyard Selection Cheese ranks on my shortlist for consciously crafted Monterey Bay space cheese. The aged Black Eyed Susan deserves awards for its gentle, buttery and fruity taste profile—and has them, together with Good Meals Awards gold. The salty Moon Flower, itself a Good Meals finalist, is a must-try. The Hollyhock, one more Good Meals gold winner, ages eight months and delivers wealthy depth in consequence. 

On this go to I felt compelled to purchase the one I hadn’t tried. Daffodil—just like the others, named for a wild flower from the ranch the place Backyard Selection sheep run—is likely to be essentially the most luxurious of the group, a semi-hard Dutch-style cheese nerd’s dream that resonates with notes of butter and brown sugar.

Rebecca King is the mastermind behind Backyard Selection, overseeing operations at Monkeyflower Ranch in Royal Oaks as she has for greater than a decade. 

She first got here to the world to review environmental science at UC Santa Cruz, and began working at Sea Stars goat farm in Bonny Doon whereas she did. She would go on to work natural farms on the East Coast, enroll at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and intern at each Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse and Cowgirl Creamery. 

After that she returned to Monterey Bay to chef Gabriella Café. Two years later, recognizing a chance to pioneer European-style sheep’s cheese regionally, she purchased a flock of fifty sheep. 

Rebecca King with one of many completely happy hogs at Monkeyflower Ranch (Photograph: Julie Cahill)

She began doing tender cheeses and yogurt after buying a pasteurizer. That led to the popsicles, which rotate by way of seasonal flavors, from mulberry-ginger to strawberry-honey to maple-vanilla. 

I went for the blackberry and promptly disappeared right into a contemporary, creamy and fruity dreamscape. When it was performed, I virtually walked again from my automotive to purchase a second one.

“I attempt to hold them easy and pure, probably not candy,” King says. “On the farmers market individuals prefer to have one thing to snack on, and it’s turn into a deal with for youths in the event that they behave. I’m 

in hassle if we promote out.”

Backyard Selection’s stock, which additionally contains lamb and pork, is accessible in a spread of how. (Enjoyable details: The sheep feed on natural barley mash left over from the beer-making course of at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Fruition Brewing and, along with that mash and greens and grains, the pigs eat whey left over from cheesemaking.)

Its Royal Oaks farmstead at 1469 San Miguel Canyon Highway opens 10am-2pm Saturdays for direct-from-the-farm gross sales. Along with Downtown Santa Cruz, GV additionally seems on the Noe Valley, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Temescal farmers’ markets. 

Retail outposts New Leaf (Capitola and Aptos) and Workers of Life in Santa Cruz additionally inventory its wares.

GV goodies are additionally accessible by way of CSA containers distributed by Good Eggs, Savor the Native, Actual Meals Bay Space, Ocean 2 Desk and Royal Oaks Produce. 

Sheep at Monkeyflower Ranch in Royal Oaks (Photograph: Julie Cahill)

Lastly, for the primary time since COVID struck, Monkeyflower Ranch is once more internet hosting farm dinners in June, July and September. 

These function pork, lamb and eggs from the ranch, natural produce from close by farms and wine and beer for buy ($10 corkage for BYO wine)

And, when you behave, maybe a popsicle too.

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Concerning the creator

Mark C. Anderson is a author, photographer, editor and explorer primarily based in Seaside, California. Attain @MontereyMCA by means of Instagram and Twitter.

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