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2010 Wrap Up Part 2 – Oregon Cheese

The emergence of Oregon cheese For years – at least to those of us outside the state — Oregon cheese was synonymous with Tillamook Cheddar. In terms of cheese states, the big three people tend to think of are California, Wisconsin, and Vermont. I would say that this year has made it obvious that people should start thinking of adding Oregon to that list – especially when considering blue cheese and goat cheese. I don’t think any state except California is making the variety and quality of goat cheese made in Oregon. First off, the Rogue Creamery makes some of the best blue cheese in the country. The Seasonal Rogue River Blue may be my favorite American cheese, but the Crater Lake, Caveman, and Echo Mountain are on the next tier of amazing. Rogue has gotten a lot of attention among cheese folks in recent years, but they are just the tip of the iceberg that the rest of the country hasn’t discovered about the Pacific Northwest cheese community. IMG_2594 River’s Edge Chevre (no connection to the Crispin Glover/Dennis Hopper movie classic) is making incredible ripened goat cheese and one of the few smoked cheeses – “Up In Smoke” (no connection to the Cheech and Chong movie classic) that I heartedly recommend. Tumalo Farms makes amazing caramel-like aged goat cheeses; Pholia Farm is an amazing off-the-grid cheese company using Nigerian Dwarf goat milk.* Juniper Grove creates great goat tommes. It seems like every time I go to Oregon I find new cheese, this year La Mariposa and Briar Rose impressed me. When I visited the Pacific Northwest on my book tour, I was actually amazed that they were even more locavore-centric than the Bay Area. Some members of the audience even seemed a little put out that not only did I bring California cheeses to sample, but some from Wisconsin! While I have my criticisms of the locavore idea, I do understand that in their region, you can get many of your needs met locally and be happy with the choices. (BTW, I was going to make this “Pacific Northwest” instead of “Oregon”, but since two of my favorite Washington State producers have shut down recently due to FDA/food borne pathogen issues, (see entry later this week) I figured I’d just play it safe and leave it at Oregon. *I should take this opportunity to again plug Gianaclis Caldwell’s Farmstead Creamery Advisor if you are thinking of starting your own dairy project! Read the original post on Gordonzola’s blog.
cheesemonger Gordon Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge.

Great Cheeses from ACS 2012: Part 1

I am only mentioning cheeses that are new to me here because – as anyone there can attest – there were too many awesome cheeses for one person to blog about. My versions of these from past years are still pretty much valid, so check those out as well if you want. Here is a […] Read More..

American Cheese Society 2012: Judging

Whenever I get a chance to be a cheese judge at the American Cheese Society Conference, I grab it. I really do love it. I am honored to be asked – and that is part of it – but I love it mostly because it is pure cheese: just me, my mouth, and 1771 anonymous […] Read More..

Gordonzola’s Humble Suggestions for Getting the Most out of the Cheese Conference

I’ve lost track of how many ACS conferences I have attended. I pretty sure I have attended every one not on the East Coast since 1999. Almost universally, they have been awesome experiences that have taught me innumerable things about cheese and introduced me to people I otherwise might never have met. Back when I […] Read More..

New facebook page

I started a new facebook page because during vacation it dawned on me that I really wish I hadn’t given the “Cheesemonger” facebook page the name of my book. For one reason, it’ll be confusing when my next book comes out. For another, it’s embarrassing commenting on other people’s facebooks as “Cheesemonger: A Life on […] Read More..

When Cheese Goes Bad

There are times of the year I associate with bad cheese. Usually it is after a holiday, when a distributor has bought too much of something perishable that didn’t sell. Buyers are alerted to these deals with flyers titled things like “Hot Sheet”, “Killer Deals”, and “Margin Builders.” This is definitely risky buying for the […] Read More..