Like all good farmers, we spent part of our vacation in Oregon ... visiting a cheese factory! (We did a lot of other things, but we also spent a lot of drive time commenting on fields and checking out animals on pasture. "It must be so hard to farm on that slope!" "Looks like they just harvested." "Is that an emu?!" Sometimes we really live up to the stereotype.)
Tillamook Cheese has a self-guided tour at their plant, and it was so well done.
Parts that stood out:
- The first farmers that settled in Oregon were super depressed that they spent tons of time and effort clearing these GIANT trees and then ... they couldn't grow crops. Bad for them, good for the dairy industry.
- A man said that he remembered how to make cheese, but his first batch was so swollen it exploded on the shelves. He guessed maybe he didn't remember that well.
- We got to see all the factory work, which I always find fascinating. So many machines, moving parts, and people. We watched as one stopped working and they discussed how to fix it with a mechanic.
- I loved this old ad:
- And this is exactly how I look when I serve dinner:
- They had free cheese samples and we tasted them all, and then they had an ice cream stop. It was $5 for 5 scoops of ice cream. I told Kris I only wanted one scoop ... could he really eat 4 scoops of ice cream? He scoffed. "Of COURSE I can eat that!" he said. I'd like to point out it was 9:00 a.m. (Of course, he'd eaten pie ala mode for his entire breakfast the previous day, so what's the difference?)
- Tillamook is different than our co-op, because Michigan Milk Producers Association employs people to sell our milk to companies that want to use it. We don't make our own products. If we did, maybe you'd really see us driving something like this little beauty.
8. Educational, fun, and ended in ice cream. Nice vacation stop!
In today's farm news - the corn is done! Kris and the guys chopped from 11:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., then furiously worked to cover the pile as fast as possible because it was the last time of the season! We talked briefly before he went to bed, mostly about how cheerful and great our team members are. It's because of them that we can ever even go on vacation - and plunge ourselves into dairy history!
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