The Tillamook Cheese Factory is one of the biggest attractions on the Oregon Coast. More than a million travelers visit it each year on Highway 101 north of town, and almost all of them sample Tillamook’s award-winning cheeses and ice cream while there.
The Tillamook Valley became home to many dairy farms beginning about 170 years ago. It’s cool, rainy climate creates abundant grass, and its relatively flat terrain is milk-cow-heaven. Five rivers flow through this extra-wet valley.
The Tillamook Cheese Factory sprang from a farming cooperative that formed in 1909. About 100 dairy farms now contribute to its products, which are advancing across the country. Stores almost everywhere in the United States now sell Tillamook butter, cheese, and ice cream. Oddly, Tillamook sells no milk as it slowly expands to the East Coast. Soon, if not already, Delawareans and Floridians will be able to buy Tillamook cheese varieties and its extra-rich ice cream.
This once-local business and tourist attraction in Oregon has been so successful that a new visitors’ center is being built. It’s scheduled to open in summer, 2018. In the meantime, a temporary VC is doing great business. There are a few displays–tractors, pictures of cows being milked–and many family friendly photo ops before visitors line-up to sample cheeses and buy ice cream cones. Temporarily, you cannot watch cheese being packaged, but you can still purchase it and other Northwest food products, buy a knife with your name on it, etc.
Except for one woman in line with Ruth who complained about how much she was buying (the woman, not Ruth), I don’t think anyone regrets stopping at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.