Jan 27

Touring the Tillamook Cheese Factory — Tillamook, Oregon

in Travel

Visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook Oregon

Even if you’re not a cheese lover like I am, a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon is worth the trip.  The factory is located 2 miles north of the city of Tillamook, an hour and half drive west from Portland.  Initially I wondered if we wanted to spend 3 hours out of our limited time making the drive all the way out to do the factory tour, but we really, really wanted to do it, so we decided to make a go of it.  I am so glad that we did.

Driving through the Tillamook State Forest

The drive takes you through the middle of the Tillamook State Forest, which ended up being some of the most beautiful scenery that we saw, which is saying a lot since we spent one of our days driving the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, which is spectacular.  The drive takes you through forests of trees covered in bright green moss, giving them a fairytale-esque feeling.  The trees and moss combined with some fog creeping through the trees had me half believing that I might catch a glimpse of Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of bread crumbs to follow home.  The drive alone is worth the trip!

Enjoying the beautiful Tillamook State Forest

Then there’s the Tillamook factory.  In 1909 a series of small creameries joined forces to form the Tillamook County Creamery Association and produce Tillamook cheese.  Tillamook has been going strong every since!  The tour of the factory is self-guided, meaning you can go at your own pace, taking as much or as little time as you want to watch the goings-on and to read the numerous placards placed through the tour area that talk about the history of Tillamook and give in-depth detail to the cheese-making process, watch video presentations, and use interactive kiosks.

Tillamook advertising campaigns

I sat watching a conveyor belt of 40 pound cheese blocks move through a large room to be weighed before being cut into 2 pound blocks, packaged, and then sent on to age in a special storage room.  Milk arrives at the factory within 1 hour of leaving the farm and is then turned into cheese within 24 hours of arrival.  More than 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the factory every day and approximately 167,000 pounds of cheese are made each day (it takes 10 pounds of milk just to make 1 pound of cheddar cheese!).

Inside the Tillamook Cheese Factory

At the end of the tour they have a cheese bar where you can sample a variety of the cheeses that Tillamook makes.  It was hard to tear myself away.  After you finish the tour they have a large gift shop where you can purchase cheeses and other Tillamook products, as well as Tillamook t-shirts and other souvenirs.  (I purchased a Tillamook t-shirt for each member of the Fuji family.  We love our cheese!)  There is also a ginormous ice cream counter where you can order one of the many flavors of ice cream that Tillamook makes.  My mom and I each got a sampler, which allows you to pick 3 small scoops of whatever flavors you choose.  My trio was Tillamook Mudslide, Mountain Huckleberry, and Malted Moo Shake (a new flavor which will hopefully be in stores soon, because it was goooooood!).

Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour

The tour was fascinating and one I would definitely repeat!

Tillamook Cheese started in 1909

Tillamook Cheese Factory
4175 Highway 101 North
Tillamook, OR 97141
(503) 851-1300

*Entrance to Tillamook Cheese is free and they are open daily, year-round (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas).
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Labor Day through mid-June)
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mid-June through Labor Day)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim January 27, 2015 at 2:55 pm

I’ve spent some time in Portland for business, but never even knew about the factory tour. Next time I have to be there over a weekend I’m going to make the trip. This looks way too cool to pass up. Love Tillamook cheese.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 29, 2015 at 9:13 am

You will love it! A great way to spend some free time during a business trip!


Shelley January 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm

We did that tour last year on an Oregon visit. It was awesome! It’s a good thing that conveyor belt room is walled off with glass, because I would have had a hard time not jumping down on that belt to sit and snack on one of those blocks of cheddar. Yum.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 29, 2015 at 9:13 am

I’m right there with you Shelley!


Kazuya Miyashita via Facebook January 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Been there! I see you found the van and the ice cream also.


Fuji Nana January 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm

Cheese samples. Fresh ice cream. Beautiful scenery. What more could you want?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 29, 2015 at 9:13 am

It was the perfect combination!


Priscilla - She's Cookin' February 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

I’m a total cheese lover – it’s one of the things I would want if I were stranded on a desert island! I’ve done several posts on Tillamook’s fabulous cheese and would love to visit their cheese factory one day. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics :)


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