On our trip to Portland we have already seen and done a lot. At first we drove to Mount St. Helens volcano, and from there to the coast of Washington where we stayed the night at Long Beach. The morning there was sunny, so we hiked to the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. We also visited some old forts that are now part of a national park. We crossed the Columbia river to Oregon and stopped in a "Finnish" town called Astoria. The second night we spent in a beautiful town called Seaside before we drove further south to visit Tillamook Cheese.
On our way there we drove this amazing road through a big forest. It was like being inside a fairytale. All the trees were covered by different kinds of moss, the only thing missing were some elves walking around the woods. It was beautiful.
Tillamook Valley on the Oregon coast is an ideal location for milk production. Cool air and rains make sure that the fields are green and lush. The first farmers who moved to the area in the 1850´s noticed this quickly and stayed on. In 1894 a cheesemaker by the name of Peter MacIntosh arrived in Tillamook Valley and taught people how to make Cheddar. Today's cheddar cheese from Tillamook is based on this age old method. In 1909 many cheese producers decided to start a company together and that is how Tillamook Cheese was started. Later, they also started making yoghurts and ice cream.
We visited the factory and did a little tour to see how cheese is made there. We were also offered some samples of different cheeses. In the Visitor center they had a small museum as well as a souvenir shop and an ice cream shop. And since we were at Tillamook, of course we had to have some ice cream. I bought a cute little Tillamook cow in a bag for my daughter, and she was super excited about it.
The tour at the factory was not very time consuming and I think we spent more time at the souvenir shop and eating ice cream. I'm not sure if I would drive all the way from Portland just to visit the Tillamook Cheese factory, but if you happen to be close by for other reasons, it is a fun place to visit...and it is free. In 2018 they are building a new and bigger Visitor center, so I'm not sure how things will change at that point. We enjoyed our visit and the ice cream of course!