I recently came across this quote and found that it could not be more true when it comes to Tillamook Cheese:
I was recently invited to attend the 1st Tillamook Blogger Summit. Going in without any expectations, I can assure you that is was beyond amazing.
The Tillamook Cheese team, complete with their incredible PR reps, poured their heart into this event… and you could tell.
From the moment we arrived, we were treated with nothing but love and care.
We spent our first night being treated to a sampling of tasty Portland foods, wine, and Cacao Drinking Chocolate… as well as sleeping in luxury at the Hotel Deluxe.
The next day, the real adventure began. We loaded up and began our almost 2 hour journey over the breathtaking countryside as we departed Portland.
Once through the colorful forest and onto the other side, the road led us to the quaint dairy town of Tillamook. A town of just under 5,000 people, the Tillamook Cheese Factory is an apparent source of community pride.
Perhaps because the factory itself employs more than 650 workers, sees nearly a million visitors every year, or due to the fact that there are 99 farm families that work to provide Tillamook with the milk needed to produce their products.
The townspeople not only choose to live near the factory, many choose to become a part of its innermost being.
The factory has been part of the town’s history since the 1950’s.
Visitors can get a first-hand look at the cheese products as they make their way around the 2nd floor mezzanine. You can easily peek into the inner-workings of the cheese factory and learn about the process as you go.
For instance, here are a few cheese facts I picked up:
- Each of the 8 stainless steel cheese vats hold about 53,500 pounds of fresh milk. Each one then makes approximately 3 batches of cheese per day. That means the Tillamook Cheese Factory makes around 167,000 pounds of cheese each day.
- Before using a state-of-the-art Cheddarmaster, cheesemakers had to separate curds and whey by hand. Now, the process is automated. Although, cheesemakers are still trained in the art of hand cheddaring for small-batch specialty cheeses.
- Each Tillamook cheese block weighs between 41 to 42 pounds but they are called “forties“. Once blocked, they are then naturally aged the “old fashioned way“… with time. After being bagged, vacuum-sealed, boxed and cooled, the forties are sent to the warehouse to begin aging.
- Tillamook Cheese is the #2 brand of natural chunk cheddar cheese in the United States.
- There are around 1 million pieces of cheese that are packaged each week by 2 daily shifts of Tillamook County Creamery Association employees.
- This one factory houses 10% of the United States cheese supply.
- Finally, Tillamook’s sensory lab is one of the few of its kind in the cheese industry. The put each block of cheese through rigorous tests and help to ensure that only the very best make it out of the factory. I love that!
You can sample several of the cheese varieties when you visit that includes cheese curds that are exclusive to the factory.
Not to mention, visitors can stop into The Farmhouse Café, which offers a variety of grilled Tillamook cheese sandwiches, and features a gourmet fudge counter.
Plus, you can taste all of the Tillamook premium ice cream flavors… that I might add are not currently available in Texas. So, yeah, this was my favorite part!
So creamy and “udderly” delicious!
And you may have though Tillamook was only about the cheese! It is so much more than that! In fact, I cannot wait to tell you about their farmers.
You can feel the genuine love between each of the workers, whether at the factory, in the corporate office, or on the farm… they are family. It was such an incredible thing to see.
I came back to Dallas full of energy and inspired to do more. I am anxious to get back to Tillamook with my family one day.
It is definitely a trip I feel they will love as much as I did.