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I’ll just start by saying that I haven’t spent enough time in Oregon. I’ve passed though (and over) many times, but have always been in a hurry. One day, I’m going to take my sweet time with you, Oregon. Let me tell you about the Tillamook company, arguably the best widely available cheese the west has to offer. I grew up with this cheese, taking its creamy texture and delightful tang for granted. It wasn’t until I set off for college and found myself settling for lesser cheeses that I began to appreciate the hard work and craftsmanship of the Tillamook legacy.

It all started in the 1850s, when European settlers moving across the vast expanse of the Oregon Territory reached the end of the line. Fortunately, they were in the Tillamook Valley, an area they found to be extraordinarily well suited for raising dairy cattle. The only problem was, in order to get their butter to market, they would have to haul it out of the valley through difficult mountain passes. After the local merchant ship went down in a gale off Peacock Spit, the farmers of Tillamook Valley were left without a way to transport their goods. Did they give up? No! Did they complain? Maybe. But while they were complaining, they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps. In 1854, a group of desperate farmers got together and built the Morning Star, a schooner to transport their butter to Portland by sea. Although the Morning Star spent only a year and a half in the service of the Tillamook dairies, it was evidently enough to help this developing industry get on its feet and earn a spot on the Tillamook logo, where it remains today.Tillamook_CCA_logo

In 2010, this Oregon-based company went to Wisconsin and dropped some medium cheddar that won the gold medal above 59 other competitors. Not since the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting has the culinary world been so set on it’s ear.

Tillamook Cheese