The cheesiest place I have ever been to

A model of the baby loaf bus at Tillamook Cheese Factory

I had seen all those Tillamook Cheese ads. I had even picked up some of that cheese from the supermarket, a few times. So, when I got to know that Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon was open to the public and that it was a good place to take kids to, I jumped at the idea.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

I thought my little boy could pick up a few lessons and I didn’t mind some cheese-making knowledge, myself.  So, on one of those rainy days that the Pacific Northwest is famous for, off we went to the Cheese Factory that lets us see its day-to-day activities.

Note: Here is something to do if you find yourself in the Portland -Vancouver Metropolitan Area during it’s really-long rainy season.

The hour-long drive from Portland took us through Tillamook State Forest and into the small town of Tillamook. The rain was incessant so when we got to Tillamook Cheese Factory, we covered our heads and the stroller with our littlest one in it, and made a dash across the parking lot and into the shelter of the factory’s roofs.

Once we were in there, we saw that there were a whole lot of information boards with notes on cows and milk and cheese. Even some Tillamook County history. After reading through some of those boards and making the boys pose
by the cut-outs of a milkman and a cow at the entrance, we went straight to the cheese.

This was the yummiest part of the tour — a cheese-tasting session. There, laid before us were plates with cubes of Tillamook’s own cheeses: Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Garlic Cheese, White Cheddar and some Cheese curds.

Tillamook Cheese Factory
The cheese-tasting.
Cheese tasting, Tillamook Cheese Factory
Plates of deliciousness — some samples of Tillamook’s cheeses.

After sampling Tillamook’s cheeses, we moved further into the factory to see what we were there to see — the process of cheese-making. From second-floor viewing corridors we were allowed look down into the processing areas. This was where the milk went into large cylinders to be turned into curds-and-whey first, and then into cheese. Unfortunately we couldn’t see the milk separate into curds and whey. But we did see chunks of 40-pound salted
cheese fall out of presses and into large plastic bags and get sealed.

On the other side of the walkway we saw the sealed cheese being transported to the ageing room in paper boxes.  And on the other end of the room there were the blocks of aged cheese making their way to the cutting, sorting and inspection area. From there, they apparently got packed in Tillamook packaging and got all-set for the supermarkets and the aisles of Tillamook Cheese Factory’s on-site store.

Tillamook Cheese Factory
The viewing area
Tillamook Cheese Factory
The processing area.
Tillamook Cheese Trivia, Tillamook Cheese Factory
Some information for the self -guided tour of the factory. The viewing area had several boards like these.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
The pressed cheese getting sealed and moved towards the ageing chamber.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
I believe these are the 40-pound loaves.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Cheese on the way to the ageing chambers.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
These must be Tillamook’s ‘Baby loaves.’
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Inspection area, I believe.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Look at all that cheese. This definitely is the cheesiest place I’ve been to. 😀

I had gone in hoping to see the initial part of the cheese making: that of the
milk being turned into cheese just as I had seen in the video on the cheese
factory’s site. Not being able to see that was a bit disappointing. I also wish
we could have gotten a glimpse of the ageing room. Even pictures of the room should have been enough. Anyway, I returned happy that I got to learn of the steps of the cheese-making process
and also all about that cheese company called Tillamook.

Did you know that Tillamook Cheese Factory is a co-operative?

Tillamook Chese factory is owned and run by the people who own the farms in the area, and rear the cows that
call Tillamook county home.

Tillamook Cheese Factory's store

If you’d like to visit Tillamook Cheese Factory:

  • You might want to save this plan for those rainy days. Since the cheese factory tour happens indoors, the rains of the Pacific Northwest will not play spoilsport.
  • The Cheese Factory has a store attached to it so if you like any of the cheeses you tasted, you know where to pick it up before you leave Tillamook.
  • You can find food here. There is a cafe at the Cheese Factory — the Creamery Cafe.
  • You can even taste some Tillamook ice cream here. It is not part of the factory tour, so you will have to buy it separately.
[The video of the cheesemaking process here]

 

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37 Comments

  1. So much heese! The sampling must have been lunch in itself 🙂

    • That was a lot of cheese for one day. Thankfully the samples were not too much so it didn't seem too sinful. 🙂

      Perhaps we had more in the days that followed, because of the cheese we bought at the Factory's store.

      Thank you, Param.

  2. I will love to visit this place 🙂

  3. Wow indeed a very " Cheesy" place…. I love most kind of cheese , this place is sure a must visit for any cheese lover..

  4. This is my kinda place 🙂 Will be sampling here forever..lol

    • Haha! The samples were little cubes. But they seem to be more than enough to tempt you to take some home. Thankfully there is a store where you can buy the straight-from-the-factory cheese.

      I'm sure you'd want to pick up loads of cheese for your KamalKitchen, from those aisles, Pragati. And different kinds of cheese at that.

      Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  5. I'd love to visit this place.. Indeed quite cheesy 😉

  6. Sampling such fresh cheese… my mouth is watering. I had visited a tiny one in Lucerne once.

  7. recently went to a cholocate factory in netherlands. had similar experience

  8. Wow! Wonderfully cheesy indeed! 🙂 I loved seeing those 40 pound loaves of cheese…like heaven! 🙂 The tour looks so interesting. I would love to take it some time if I get up to Oregon (we do have relatives there) but I'm sorry you missed out on seeing the initial process and the ageing room. That too would have been a good part to add to the tour. Fun post!

    • Yeah, you should go get some fresh cheese from there. Marie. The cheese tasting was fun.

      Now that I know that this cheese making plant was owned by the farmers of Tillamook County, makes me want to pick up Tillamook Cheese every time I'm at the supermarket to get some cheese. 🙂
      I wish I could have seen the milk turn into cheese.

      Thank you, Marie. 🙂

  9. Great tour of the factory…i am yet to take any of such tours (maybe to the chocolate factory as i love white chocolate).

    It is indeed a great fun as is the learning…i am sure the little one would be glad to have visited.

  10. Immaculate, impeccable standards of manufacturing. Makes me wonder if we will ever be able to emulate them out here. The sight of all that cheese set my mouth watering. Thank you for those special photographs and and a rather delicious travelogue.

    • And the fact that it was a co-op; that it was owned by the farmers of the area was very impressive.
      Oh yeah — that was a lot of cheese.

      Thank YOU, USP. 🙂
      I hope all's well with you.

  11. ooooh very cheesy 🙂 I also went to a factory recently but mine was something that made one high 🙂 he he he yeah to a Scotch distellery …

    Bikram's

  12. Nice post and good pics Dee, I visited a few cheese factories in Swiss and one in Holland, the visit was worth it 🙂

  13. Wow ! A cheese factory tour and those cheesy delights to taste. Must have extremely educative for you all.

  14. It is interesting to see how it is processed.

  15. This kind of cheesy I don't mind at all. 🙂

  16. Cheesy indeed and when i see it I just it, without giving a thought as to how much work went into making it!

  17. Lovely post Divya! Did not know the love for cheese is shared with you! Have visited in Gureyere, Switzerland,Perth Australia, Akaora, New Zealand among other places 🙂

  18. Pingback: Vancouver Lake Regional Park | Tipsy from the TRIP

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