OUR HISTORY

Jump to:

We take special pride in our history here at Tillamook. For over a century our farmer-owners have been committed to providing families with the most consistent, best tasting, highest quality dairy products made in the most natural way possible, and our origins stretch back even earlier. It takes a lot of hard work to produce our high-quality dairy products, and it is a long tradition of excellence that makes us who we are today.

1851

The first settlers arrived in the Tillamook Valley and discovered a silver lining to the Oregon coast's cool, wet climate: all those rainy days—coupled with water sources from 5 rivers, 5 bays, and the Pacific Ocean—made for green, green grass. And all that nutritious grass? It turned out to be perfect for raising dairy cows.

1855

Tillamook residents built Oregon's first official ship, the Morning Star, to carry our dairy goods to market. At the time, the rough wagon trails over the mountains took too long, so the sea-faring Morning Star helped bring fresh dairy products to Portland, where they could be distributed more widely. Today our products return the favor by carrying a small Morning Star schooner on our logo.

1894

Renowned cheesemaker Peter McIntosh brought his cheddar cheese-making expertise to Tillamook County, where he taught the locals all he knew and earned himself the nickname "Cheese King of the Coast." Over 120 years later, we still use the same cheddar cheese recipe we developed all those years ago!

1904

Tillamook County won its first cheese award at the monumental St. Louis World's Fair, paving the way for hundreds of awards we’ve won since.

1909

Several small creameries joined forces to ensure all cheese made in the Tillamook Valley was of the same high quality. They formed the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA)…and the rest is delicious history.

1921

Tillamook was officially trademarked, and our first slogan—"Look for Tillamook on the Rind"—let people know that the cheese wedge they brought home was genuine Tillamook quality.

1947

Ice cream was first made in Tillamook. In the early days, we kept it simple with rectangular containers of Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry, Chocolate Ripple, and Strawberry Ripple.

1949

A new Tillamook Cheese Factory was built in its current location on the Oregon Coast. Today, nearly one million visitors make the trip each year!

1966

Tillamook packaging is redesigned to make it easier for customers to identify genuine Tillamook Cheese. This new packaging incorporated an illustration of our historic Morning Star ship.

1972

Tillamook introduced a new line of premium ice cream in half-gallon round containers, which is what we’re known for today. Some of the first flavors of our premium ice cream were Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate, Banana Split, Coffee Almond Fudge, and Caramel Butter Pecan.

1993

Tillamook began production of sour cream. From this day forward, baked potatoes and nachos would never be the same.

1994

For our 85th anniversary, Tillamook introduced a 3-Year-Aged Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar as a specialty product. This came from a long tradition: a century earlier, nearly every small creamery in Tillamook County made a white cheddar as a specialty product on Christmas day to be sold the next season as extra sharp cheddar. After the 85th anniversary, this special Vintage White Cheddar became permanently available, followed by a number of other traditional Vintage White Cheddars.

Tillamook also began production of Tillamook Lowfat Yogurt in 1994. Fruit finally got the yummy showcase it deserved, and spoons around the world rejoiced.

2001

Based on the growing popularity of Tillamook Cheese, our farmer-owners needed to increase our cheesemaking capacity beyond what was possible at our factory in Tillamook. In 2001, we opened our second cheesemaking facility in Boardman, Oregon, to help us meet increased demand for Tillamook products. Now Tillamook employees in both of our factories, in Tillamook and in Boardman, work around the clock to keep up with our fans' appetites.

2009

We celebrated 100 years as a farmer-owned co-op…hooray! Some of our current farmer-owners are even the great-great-great grandchildren of our pioneering founders.

2010

Tillamook was voted the World's Best Medium Cheddar Cheese at the 2010 World Championship Cheese Contest®, adding to our growing list of almost 700 awards for Tillamook dairy products.

Today

We celebrate our 105th anniversary and introduced new packaging for all of our dairy products that aims to tell the story of our farmer-owned co-op that has been making dairy products for over a century. Today, Tillamook is the #1 natural cheddar cheese brand in the West. Our founding farmers would be SO proud!