Passion Fruit from Stepladder Ranch & Creamery

Come by for some free tropical passion fruit grown locally by Jack & Michelle Rudolph at Stepladder Ranch & Creamery (offer valid Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2022)! Yes, the same ranch and creamery from which we get some of your favorite produce and cheeses like avocados, finger limes, Big Sur and Fromage Blush.

Stepladder grows a purple passion fruit varietal called Fredrick, which is known for its balanced sweet-tart flavor profile. The inside of passion fruit is all edible, seeds and all. The fruit has a tropical flavor that is all its own. Some say it’s similar to pineapple and kiwi. We like passion fruit scooped out over vanilla gelato, ice cream or yogurt, and it’s also delicious as Agua Fresca de Maracuyá, which our crew member Maribel made for us this week. 

Agua Fresca de Maracuyá is simply passion fruit, water and a little sugar to taste. Blend that mixture together, strain it, pour over ice and garnish with a few seeds! The drink itself is sweet, and the tartness of the passion fruit seeds floating on top makes it refreshing.

Growing passion fruit at Stepladder started as an experiment but quickly turned into the ranch’s second largest crop behind avocados. Since passion fruit grow on a climbing vine, the Rudolphs utilized the fence lines around the avocado orchards to host experimental the vines to ensure they would grow in the subtropical climate. The passion fruit did indeed thrive at the ranch, and now Stepladder has an acre of vines on dedicated trellising for passion fruit.

We have a few serving suggestions to share, but we would love to hear from you about your favorite use for passion fruit! Share your suggestions at 

How to select and store passion fruit:

  • Passion fruit are light, but choose one that is heavy for its size.
  • Wrinkles on the outside are ok, however it’s best to avoid hard and very wrinkled fruit.
  • Passion fruit have a thick skin, so some scuff marks on the outside won’t harm the pulp.
  • Whole passion fruit can be stored at room temperature for about two weeks. If you refrigerate the fruit, place it in a sealed container to help prevent them from dehydrating.

Serving Suggestions:

Agua Fresca de Maracuyá

Agua Fresca de Maracuyá is simply passion fruit, water and a little sugar to taste. The drink itself is sweet, and the tartness of the passion fruit seeds floating on top makes it refreshing. (Click here for a video.)

Here is a quick how-to:

Start with at least 5 passion fruit; set one aside. Cut 4 passion fruit in half and scoop the fruit out into a bowl; discard the skins. Add 1 cup water and about 2 tablespoons of sugar to a blender (more or less, to taste). Process for about 30 seconds.

Add the passion fruit and pulse 2 or three times (no more than that). Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the mixture into a pitcher. Add 3 more cups of water to the pitcher and stir well. Add ice if you wish. Pour into individual serving glasses and top seeds from the remaining passion fruit. Enjoy! Serves 4 to 6.

Passion Fruit Margarita

Recipe and photo from Stepladder Creamery. These margaritas would pair nicely with a cheeseboard featuring Stepladder Creamery’s LumberJack and Cabrillo cheeses, creating a nice balance between the tangy passion fruit and salty cheese.

Recipe + Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. tequila
  • 4 oz. lime juice
  • 4 oz. orange liqueur 
  • 4 oz. simple syrup 
  • 8 oz. passion fruit juice 
  • Passion fruit pulp for garnish 

Combine ingredients into a pitcher and stir.  Pour over ice in a rimmed glass. Makes 4 margaritas. Enjoy!

Passion Fruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This recipes also comes from Stepladder Ranch & Creamery. The ranch sustainably raises pigs on a healthy diet consisting of pig feed, fruit and whey. Whey is cheese waste and they get a few hundred gallons per week from the Creamery. They also get any overripe, damaged, or not so pretty looking fruit waste consisting mainly of avocados! 


  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder 
  • ½ Tbsp paprika 
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • ½ Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil (one that will tolerate high heat)
  • 4 lb Pork Roast
  • 4 to 6 Stepladder Passion fruit → the pulp only, seeds removed
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, more if needed to cover pork (or water)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Serrano peppers, roughly chopped 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 4ths

For serving:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Butter
  • Buns
  1. Combine brown sugar, mustard, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl and combine into a slurry. Rub all over the pork roast, wrap in foil and leave in the fridge for 4 hours. 
  2. After the pork has marinated, pull out of the fridge. 
  3. Pour vegetable oil in the slow cooker.
  4. Pour passion fruit, broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Serrano peppers, garlic, and onions in the slow cooker. 
  5. Put the pork roast into the slow cooker, make sure the roast is completely covered with liquid – add more broth or water as needed. 
  6. Cover and cook on high until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours.
  7. When it’s done the meat should shred apart into small pieces.
  8. Remove pork roast from slow cooker and place in a large metal bowl. 
  9. Blend all juices from the slower cooker.
  10. With 2 forks start to shred the pork. Add about ⅓ cup of juices to the pork immediately after pulling.
  11. Boil down all juices about ½ way and add about ⅓ cup to pork – you don’t want the pork to be dry or too wet so adjust accordingly. Save the rest of the juice for dipping! 
  12. Butter the buns flat side down and toast on a skillet until golden brown.
  13. Take about a handful of pulled pork, place on the roll, and smoother on top with bbq sauce. 
  14. Use extra juices for dipping! 

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