Four score and 22 years ago, our founders brought forth to this great state of Oregon a new organization, conceived in cooperation, and dedicated to the production of the highest quality milk and most consistently made dairy products (which, at that time, was primarily cheddar cheese).What organization could it be, you ask? Only the Tillamook County Creamery Association, of course! Today, February 13, Tillamook is 102 years old.
TCCA was formed in 1909, but prior to that, there were other attempts at forming cooperative-style organizations. They didn’t succeed due to lack of funds or greed on the part of the organizer. But TCCA had a recipe for success.
At the center was Carl Haberlach, a young lawyer who was acting as bookkeeper and salesman for 16 of the local creameries. As the story goes, Carl observed jobbers playing the creameries against each other, influencing the price of cheese. He also noticed that store owners had preferences for cheese made by certain creameries. In these early years, each of the little creameries had their own cheesemaker, and each cheesemaker had their own process for making cheddar cheese. There were no communal standards for cheesemaking in Tillamook County.
Carl had a plan. He wanted to eliminate the jobbers, sell through one organization and improve the cheese by setting quality standards. Several of the creameries thought it was a great idea and, on Feb. 13, 1909, TCCA came into existence. TCCA’s first order of business was to elect a board of directors. With that done, the important task was finding a cheese inspector. But that’s a story for another day.
Photo: Carl Haberlach, TCCA secretary-salesman (retired in 1944)