Oregon Coast Cheese Is Actually Made In Wisconsin
Last Friday, Pioneer Courthouse Square was a dairy junkie’s dream, as Portlanders swarmed over the red bricks to gobble up free samples and penny ice-cream cones from the Tillamook County Creamery Association. To celebrate the company’s 95th anniversary, Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared July 30, 2004, Tillamook Cheese Day.
“We love Tillamook,” says Sharon Kleine, who brought her visiting grandson to the event. “They’re us. They’re Oregonians. And they make great products.” Like many proud Oregonians, she takes origin into account when making purchases.
What few people know, however, is that some of the company’s cheeses come from Wisconsin, despite a label identifying them as “Oregon Coast Cheese.”
Here’s what’s up: Four years ago, Tillamook bought the Bandon Cheese company and moved production of its cheeses to Tillamook. But, as WW has learned, its three organic cheeses, which had been made in Bandon prior to Tillamook’s purchasing the plant, were outsourced to a facility in Wisconsin.
The cheese is made according to the original Bandon recipe specifications before traveling to Tillamook in 42-pound blocks via refrigerated trucks to be graded, aged, cut up, wrapped, labeled and shipped for distribution throughout the Northwest. But it’s still made in Wisconsin, from Midwest milk.
In April 2003, Tillamook changed Bandon’s official name to “Oregon Coast Foods,” which is the name that appears on the back label.
Bel Brand Cheeses Have A French Flair
You might not be familiar with the Bel Brand company specifically, but there’s a good chance you’ve had one of their cheeses, which include Laughing Cow, Babybel, and Boursin. Like tiny wheels of cheese wrapped in little wax packages, Babybel cheese is nearly irresistible.
Originally created in the Jura region in France in 1921, the Laughing Cow brand has since circled the globe. And of course, the garlic & herb cheese spread created by Boursin is usually the first thing to go on a grazing board at any party . Bel Brands also produces several other cheese spreads that can be widely found.
While none of these cheese products fit into classical cheese categories, they’re all made with authentic cheeses or cheesemaking techniques. And more than anything, we absolutely couldn’t get enough of them while tasting them, proving that cheeses don’t have to be 100% artisan or creative to be delicious.
Tillamook Provides Intense Cheese Flavors
If you ever find yourself on a road trip through Oregon, we wholeheartedly recommend making a stop at the Tillamook Creamery Visitor’s Center and Production Headquarters. There, you can taste several of the Tillamook cheeses, as well as mac and cheese, cheesy sandwiches, and Tillamook dairy ice cream. After you’re stuffed full of the good stuff, you can catch a glance of the cheese factory floor and get a rare glimpse into how these fantastic cheeses are made.
If you’re nowhere near Oregon, that’s okay too. Tillamook is very likely in your local grocery store already and will taste just as wonderful in your own home. The collection of Tillamook cheeses is cheddar heavy, but also includes your favorites like mozzarella, parmesan, pepper jack, colby, and more. For an extra-special treat, you can even try one of the Tillamook Maker’s Reserve White Cheddars that are sold by the vintage. To help decide which of these thoroughly American cheddars might be your next favorite, check out the Sharpness Scale on the website that provides tasting notes and serving suggestions for those who want to embrace their inner cheese nerd.
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Announcement Of Cuts At Tillamook Cheese Factory Jolts Coastal Community
News that the
will eliminate 50 positions has left the community for which it is named shocked and angry.
Now, the rural hamlet known for its dairy farms and pastureland must figure out how to cope with the decision that will be felt by far more than the soon-to-be unemployed.
“I think it’s just going to have a profound impact,” said Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi. “There are very few family wage jobs in Tillamook. It’s going to have a ripple effect.”
The announcement to cut the positions came Thursday afternoon in a statement from the Tillamook County Creamery Association. The layoffs are expected to take place in the first or second week of February and are the result of the association moving packaging jobs to cut high transportation costs, said Harold Strunk, association president and CEO.
“Because our distribution network was in Tillamook, we would literally make cheese at our factory in
, to be shredded and sliced, then ship the cheese back to the Tillamook factory to be warehoused and distributed to our customers, and then in some cases the cheese would be shipped back to Idaho to our customers there,” Strunk said in a second news release Friday.
The plan now is to ship the cheese to Mountain Home and
Josi predicted a grim outlook for the workers.
“One of the things we need to clarify is that 50 positions doesn’t necessarily mean 50 people,” he said.
Enroll With A Shipping Forwarder
You checked the companys website and are sure that Tillamook Cheese or the other e-commerce store you want to purchase from will not ship to Canada.
The best option for you is to ship your package to a package forwarder that will send the items you purchased in the United States to your home.
Obviously, you are paying a pretty penny for your items. You want to make sure that they arrive safely and in a timely manner.
That is why we think you should only work with a forwarder that has experience. Our pick is MyUS.com.
The reason why we like this option is because they dont charge additional taxes, they have low rates, and their service is reliable.
We have worked with this shipping forwarder for some time and have shipped more than 1,000 packages from the US to Canada and feel that MyUS.com is unquestionably the best option for delivering your Tillamook Cheese order.
If you are planning on ordering something from a US-based e-commerce store that doesnt ship to Canada, we recommend that you go through the sign-up process with MyUS.com.
Signing up is a breeze, and you will know how much it is going to cost to ship your Tillamook Cheese item to your home before checkout.
If you have any problems with your Tillamook Cheese package, talk to the concierge service offered by MyUS.com.
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Museums And Other Points Of Interest
The Tillamook Air Museum, which features over 15 aircraft, an Exhibit Hall with rare wartime and aviation-themed artifacts, is located just south of the city. It is housed in a wooden WWII blimp hangar that was once a part of Naval Air Station Tillamook. In 1991, illusionist David Copperfield filmed a train car disappearance illusion for a TV special in Hangar B. Its sister hangar was destroyed by a fire in 1992. The hangars were built with old-growth trees and one can see the huge seamless beams inside the buildings.
The Tillamook Cheese Factory is the Tillamook County Creamery Association’s original cheese production facility. The Tillamook Cheese Factory also serves as a Visitor Center and hosts over 1 million tourists each year. Visitors can learn about the cheese-making process, cheese-packaging process, and the ice cream-making process from a viewing gallery over the main production floor. Tours are self-guided and self-paced, and are augmented by video presentations and interactive kiosks. Tours inside the actual cheese-processing area of the plant were discontinued in 1967 due to health and safety regulations.
Land O’ Lakes Is Reliable But Limited When It Comes To Cheese
If you buy most of your cheese in the deli section of the grocery store, then you’ve likely at least tried some Land O’ Lakes cheeses, if not enjoyed them regularly. While most of the deli cheeses they offer are American cheeses, Land O’ Lakes also makes Swiss and provolone cheese options. But whichever Land O’ Lakes cheese you choose for your sandwich, you’re likely to get a tasty, consistent, tender, and not aggressively cheesy option.
With that said, you’re not going to find blocks of cheese that you can slice for your next cheese board or even shred to make a gourmet macaroni and cheese dish. While Land o’ Lakes produces notable sliced deli cheeses, that’s about as fancy as it gets. What they’re really known for is their extensive line of dairy products. As a matter of fact, they’re the best-selling brand of butter in the US, according to Food & Wine. They’ve also got a full line of milk, cream, eggs, margarine, and spreads that are widely available almost everywhere. So, while this cheese might be great for sandwiches, we wouldn’t call it a go-to for all your cheese-based recipe needs.
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Which Cheddar Cheese Is Best
Cheese! A food so good that you can put it on almost any other food and it makes that food better! Dont believe me? My multiple lactose intolerant friends who wont stop eating cheese say otherwise. When we were asked to hold a Cheddar Cheese taste test, we knew it was a must!
The person who asked us to test Cheddar Cheese felt overwhelmed at the amount of brands of cheese, and the wide range of prices. And its true, there is such a wide range. Look at the price difference between the cheapest contender and the most expensive contender below.
Setting up the Cheddar Cheese Taste Test
The cheeses were presented on identical plates, labeled A-F.
The panelists were asked to select them all at once and were allowed to test in whatever order they wanted.
Panelists were able to eat the cheese alone, or with whatever food they wanted to eat with it. However they had to stick with that food for each brand. To see how we keep all tests unbiased, as well as a list of every test ever, click here.
The Former Temporary Visitor Center:
The building that housed the temporary visitor center is still being used. The walk-thru exhibit that was there the first time we visited remains. Just beyond that, theres a new area where a few vendors can display and sell their products. The other half of the building, which had been used for the ice cream shop, cafe, and gift shop, was sealed off when we were there, so I couldnt see its new purpose.
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Velveeta Is A Classic But Is It Real Cheese
It’s not that we don’t have a warm spot in our hearts for Velveeta we do. It’s that, even though it’s sold on the dairy aisle, Velveeta isn’t really cheese. It’s more like stabilized milk and oil, dyed that brilliant yellow-orange color and marketed as a cheese product that melts unlike any other cheese . There are six different “flavors” of Velveeta cheese loaves, including Original, 2% Milk, Queso Blanco, Jalapeno, Mexican, and Sharp Cheddar, as well as shredded cheese, sliced cheese, and macaroni varieties.
While Velveeta cheese may be infused with different flavors for a bit of variety, ultimately, it’s all basically the same cheese. And that is what you’re looking for when you’re buying Velveeta, after all.
While you might assume that American cheese is the most popular cheese in the US, you’d be wrong. According to Cheese Market News, mozzarella cheese is the most produced cheese in the US, followed by cheddar. You might also be surprised to know that “American cheese” doesn’t just mean the processed cheese product slices used for sandwiches, but Colby, Monterrey, and jack cheeses as well. So, even though it’s wildly popular, and while we’d never dream of taking your Velveeta from you, shopping data shows that it just doesn’t compare when it comes to natural cheeses.
Organic Valley Cheese Is Award
With the larger selection of organic cheeses and dairy products on the market these days, you’ve got more choices than ever when selecting a delicious cheese snack. Since the first cartons of organic milk hit the shelves in grocery stores, the Organic Valley company has expanded to include a full line of dairy products, eggs, cheeses, and an ever-growing collection of meats.
We tasted the Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese and were immediately impressed with how crisp and authentic it tasted. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given that it won the Bronze medal at the Los Angeles International Dairy Competition in both 2012 and 2017. While the cheeses Organic Valley produces are generally the same types of cheese produced by their competitors, we could tell the quality of the cheeses had gone up a notch. With a handful of cheese awards under their belt, it’s clear that Organic Valley is interested in refining the popular cheese market, if not adding a little creativity to it.
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As A Cooperative Tillamook County Creamery Association Prioritizes Forward
Last year was a monumental one for the world, and a newsworthy one for Tillamook County Creamery Association, too. The Tillamook, Ore.-based cooperative became a Certified B Corporation, donated $4 million dollars to a COVID-19 relief fund and partnered with the American Farmland Trust to help secure farmland for future generations. And it did all of this while increasing its sales from $849.7 million in 2019 to a forecasted $938.6 million in 2020, says Patrick Criteser, president and CEO.
In certain ways, this was just par for the course for 112-year-old Tillamook, as these corporate-citizenship-based decisions were already in its DNA. The cooperative consists of about 80 farmer-owners who live in the Tillamook County area and who value the long-term success of the company over short-term gains.
As farmer-owned and led for over 110 years, we have stakeholders, not shareholders, says Paul Snyder, executive vice president, stewardship.
The aspirations of the cooperative members are for this cooperative to stay strong and be profitable and continue to stay true to its values over coming generations, he explains. So they certainly are interested in quarterly earnings, but that’s not the main thing that they’re interested in.
We put together a plan approached our board and our members with the idea that it was time for us to move east and to sell products and gain distribution and markets around the U.S., he says.
Sargento Is A Convenient And Tasty Cheese Choice
Sargento has been pioneering cheese products since 1953, when it launched the first pre-packaged sliced and shredded cheeses on the dairy aisle. Today, they’re just as competitive as the other big brands like Kraft and Borden, offering an extensive line of shredded, sliced, and snack cheeses.
At this point in our cheese brand rankings, we’re starting to see cheesemakers break out of the mostly-American cheese category and developing several styles of cheddar, as well as mozzarella, gouda, parmesan, and international cheese blends. Not to be left off of your next grazing table, Sargento even produces pre-cubed cheese.
When it comes to the flavor and texture of Sargento cheese, you’re going to find cheese that is easy to eat nothing too hard, and nothing too gooey. Flavor-wise, none of the cheeses are aggressive in flavor or smell, with many of them like the mozzarella, provolone, and Swiss all having a similar innocuous flavor profile and textures. Our favorite cheeses in the Sargento line include the snack bites and snack sticks, which are ultra-convenient to carry around on a long day out, road trip, or pack for lunch.
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Borden Cheese Is Economical And Reliable
Not to be outdone in the variety department, Borden has 18 different flavors of cheese in their collection. Like the other cheesemakers in their category, Borden produces cheese in slices, chunks, shredded cheese, and snack sizes. We like the wide variety of cheese options, which include Oaxaca and Queso Fresco cheeses that are becoming more popular in the US, alongside Italian, Mexican, and flavored cheddar cheese blends. Borden products also tend to be priced just below competitor pricing, which helps our bottom line when buying groceries for the whole family for the week.
Much like Sargento before them, Borden cheeses all tend to have a similar texture. Not too hard, not too soft, and a tad rubbery. It’s an easy texture to eat on a sandwich, shred onto a salad or mix into a casserole, and melts easily without instantly breaking. But rest assured that it’s actual cheese and not just a processed cheese product. Borden’s got a reliable smoothness to it, but if you’re looking for more nuanced cheeses, you’ll need to keep reading.
Kerrygold Is For Stepping Up Your Cheese Game
You may recognize the Kerrygold brand from the butter section at the grocery store those gold and silver foil packages of Irish butter are hard to miss. If you haven’t tasted one of the 10 unique kinds of cheese they offer, there’s no time like the present! The Kerrygold Aged Cheddar is a nice place to start if you’re looking for something familiar. But after that, we’d suggest tasting the Dubliner cheese. A firm cheese that’s got a few salty crystals interspersed throughout and a delicately sweet and nutty cheese, with an almost tropical finish.
The Cashel Blue Farmhouse Cheese is also a wonderful introduction to blue cheese if you’re not sure where to begin. It’s got a gentle tangy taste without the overwhelming moldy or ammonia flavor that scares some people away from blue cheeses. It’s great crumbled on top of a salad, or served on a cheese board for a well-rounded presentation. If you needed a little more encouragement to try this blue cheese, know that it’s been awarded the gold medal at the International Cheese Awards every year since 2009! You’re definitely going to be stepping your cheese game up a notch with Kerrygold.
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