The story of
According to the legend, the Spanish missionaries who arrived in California in the 18th Century made an early form of Jack cheese they called Queso del País, or “country cheese.” After the missionaries left, farmers continued this style of cheesemaking, which evolved sometime in the 1800s into the cheese we now know as Monterey Jack. This popular California original might not exist today if not for the birth of David Jacks, the colorful Monterey land baron and dairy owner credited with lending his name to what is known as the state’s most famous native cheese. As the story goes, sometime in 1882 David Jacks began shipping from his dairies a cheese branded with his last name and the city of origin, Monterey, to San Francisco and other Western markets. Eventually the “s” was dropped and people began asking for “Monterey Jack.” While there are alternative explanations for the cheese’s origins—that the cheese was first made using a “jack” (or press)—David Jacks is the one most often credited for its distinctive name. Since it was introduced commercially more than a century ago, Monterey Jack cheese has evolved into a national hit. Monterey Jack is considered one of the most significant and popular cheese ever created in the U.S.