One of our favorite things to do when traveling along Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast is stopping at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It is located a few miles north of the town of Tillamook, Oregon. This is a very popular tourist attraction and they are nicely set up to handle the crowds. There is plenty of parking and even a huge lot just for RV’s!
The Tillamook Cheese Factory, located at 4185 U.S. 101 North in Tillamook, Oregon, is the Tillamook County Creamery Association’s original cheese production facility. The Tillamook Cheese Factory also serves as a visitor center and hosts over 1 million tourists each year.Visitors can learn about the cheesemaking process, cheese packaging process, and the ice cream-making process from a viewing gallery over the main production floor. Tours are self-guided and self-paced, and are augmented by video presentations and interactive kiosks – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillamook_County_Creamery_Association
When you enter doors there is a funny little VW Van display. The mini VW van is a Tillamook Cheese promotional vehicle called the Baby Loaf. Tillamook sells their cheese in what they call a loaf. It’s a great cheesy tourist photo-op! So I had to get Anne and her visiting sister Kathleen to get in for a snapshot.
The first thing we did was head upstairs to take in the free self-guided tour of the cheese factory. You are up above the plant and can watch the cheese being processed and packaged by the workers below. It’s amazing the quantity of cheese made every day here. There are signs and displays depicting the early days of the factory and explaining the processed involved in cheese making, as well as videos to watch. Around 1.6 million gallons of milk is turned into 187,000 pounds of cheese each day!
The photos below are a little weird-looking because the viewing glass is cheese colored. It was fun to watch the workers on the assembly line performing their different tasks from breaking the cheese into the blocks to laying it out on the conveyor belts, to inspecting the final product.
After the factory tour, we headed downstairs and got in line for the free samples, a chance to taste the various cheeses made here. Tillamook Cheese is world-famous for their great tasting cheddar and they had many types available for tasting and for sale at good prices. They also sell all kinds of Tillamook Cheese branded merchandise, local Oregon Coast jams, coffee, mustard, sauces, candy, fudge and on and on. Oh, and don’t forget to get yourself a nice scoop of fresh Tillamook ice cream in a made on site waffle cone. Yumm!
If you’re hungry they have a decent little café and for shopping a large gift shop. Overall the Tillamook Cheese Factory is a very interesting and entertaining stop and I give it two thumbs up. If you’re RVing along highway 101 on the Oregon coast it’s a great rest or lunch stop over.