Way back when, in the mid-1930s, a committee of the Tillamook Country Creamery Association (TCCA) board of directors recommended that Tillamook experiment with making ice cream. The committee felt that a small-scale could easily meet any local demand, and the expansion of ice cream production would depend on the success of local sales.
Unfortunately, our archives are lacking in details about what happened after that recommendation. Did we make ice cream or not? We do know that by 1947 ice cream was made locally in small amounts. But it wasn’t until 1949, when the new plant was constructed, that Tillamook really dived into making the sweet treat on a larger scale.
We started with Frosty 4, a 4 percent butter fat ice milk, which came in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry ripple and chocolate ripple; Tillamook Maid, a 10.5 percent butterfat ice cream; and a few novelty items like sundae cups. Tillamook Ice Cream was sold all around town, up into Clatsop County and south to Lincoln County.
In 1972, we began a half-gallon line of premium ice cream in a selection of flavors. With a big marketing push, our ice cream made its way into the Portland market. Being able to enjoy an ice cream cone at an outlet such as the Oregon Zoo gave people outside of Tillamook an opportunity to taste our ice cream and, hopefully, fall in love with it.
Another avenue for making devotees of Tillamook Ice Cream was through our Visitors Center (the Tillamook Cheese Factory). When we expanded the Visitors Center in 1979, a dipping counter was added that could hold 16-tubs of ice cream. Sales grew immensely, prompting the dipping counter to move three different times to accommodate the growing demand before settling in its current spot. Today, the downstairs dipping counters can hold 80 tubs of ice cream!
Stop by the Tillamook Cheese Factory and enjoy an ice cream in honor of National Ice Cream Month!