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Photo courtesy of the American Cheese Society

It’s been a couple weeks since I returned from the American Cheese Society meeting in Montreal, Quebec and there are always a hundred things to take care of when you’ve been away from work for a week. It wasn’t until this weekend that I had the chance to reflect on the meeting.

During the week here at Tillamook I work with a great group of people who are responsible for directly supporting our farmers to ensure we have the highest quality milk available. In addition, our group is responsible for all the food safety and quality activities from farm to consumer. So, it may seem a bit odd that my weekends are often spent on my own farm making small batches of yogurt and cheese for friends and family. Anyhow, amongst the 5-gallon batches of Greek yogurt, gruyere and ricotta cheese I had in the works, I finally had time to sit down and share a bit about the American Cheese Society meeting.

First, it is extremely gratifying to see our team here at Tillamook recognized in the cheese competition. With 1676 different cheeses entered, to place in the top three positions in any category is exciting. We received 4 awards which included a first place for our Colby a mild cheese meant to be eaten soon after production. Colby is blended with Monterey Jack to make Colby Jack. It is fitting to win for Colby because we have already been recognized at the U. S. Championship Cheese Contest® for having America’s best Monterey Jack and Colby Jack. In addition, Oregon, with almost 40 different cheese factories currently in production, was well represented with a total of 9 awards received including a “best in show” for Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue This is the second time Rogue has won best in show in 3 years and if you haven’t tried their Blue cheeses you should, they are incredible.

Quebec was the perfect place to hold the meeting. Their cheese making tradition began in the mid-1600s and their history has been one of diversity both in scale of production as well as varieties of cheese produced. With the leadership of folks like David Gremmels, Christine Hyatt and many others, the American Cheese Society and the Oregon Cheese Guild are maintaining and reinvigorating the diversity and camaraderie that makes the cheese industry special. The end result for all of us cheese lovers is a growing availability of a lot of different cheeses to try. So while there should always be Tillamook cheese in your refrigerator, I would also encourage you to try some of the other great artisan cheeses made here in Oregon. We are pretty proud of our accomplishments.

4 comments

jackie daniels

did you discontinue cottage cheese, if not where can i buy it in the gresham, oregon area, 97060

December 1st, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Jala

Tillamook Team

Hi there, Jackie! Well, we've never made cottage cheese. I'm sorry I can't help. Maybe try Alpenrose or Organic Valley.

- Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 2nd, 2011 at 10:01 am

Lei

Hi and congratulations! I lived in the Portland area in the early to mid-nineties and had friends we visited frequently who lived near the cheese factory. I miss this cheese so much as I now live back in my home state of North Carolina where I have only been able to find it on occasion. Over the years I have bragged to my friends about the cheeses that Tillamook produces and am so glad you have been recognized internationally. Congratulations again!

December 28th, 2011 at 9:26 am

Jala

Tillamook Team

Hi there, Lei! It's so nice of you to write us and congratulate us on our win. You're so far away! Here is a list of stores in North Carolina that should carry Tillamook Cheese - http://www.tillamook.com/wheretobuy/results.html?state=NC&category_id=1. Maybe this will help get some Tillamook in your house on a regular basis. Let me know what you find. And please visit us at the Cheese Factory next time you're out this way!

~ Jala of the Tillamook Team

December 28th, 2011 at 7:38 pm
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