Author Archives: ODNC

Going Rogue: Oregon Cheese Makes a Big Statement

Type the words “American cheese” into an online search engine, and the images that pop up typically appear more utilitarian than artisanal or gourmet. Perhaps that’s one reason why it came as a shock to some around the globe that an American cheese defied convention and brought home the title of “best in the world” at the 2019 World Cheese Awards for the first time in history. It was a statement win.

Based in Southern Oregon, Rogue Creamery proved what many Oregonians and cheese aficionados already knew – Oregon creameries make some truly extraordinary cheese. At the awards held in Bergamo, Italy, Rogue River Blue beat out more than 3,800 cheeses from 42 countries. After a photo finish with an Italian Parmigiano Reggiano, Oregon officially became home to the World Champion.

According to Rogue, the winning cheese embodies their signature terroir with flavors of sweet pine, wild ripened berries, hazelnuts, morels and pears:

“Rogue River Blue is an organic, cave-aged blue cheese that is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that are soaked in pear spirits. It is made exclusively with milk from Rogue Creamery’s certified organic dairy farm in Grants Pass, where the cows graze on pastures bordering the Rogue River. A seasonal product, Rogue River Blue is only made for a few months each year beginning on the autumnal equinox, when cooler temperatures bring renewed growth to the pastures and our cow’s milk becomes richer and higher in butterfat.”

Since the big announcement on October 18, people have been taking note. From Martha Stewart to renowned authors, international journalists, chefs, foodies and even fellow cheesemakers – all have been singing Rogue’s praises, as stores are quickly selling out. Many Oregonians are expressing pride in the recognition, including U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who had some fun with this Tweet:

In addition to Rogue’s top honors, TMK Creamery of Canby brought home a Silver Medal for their Garlic Dill Cheddar Curds, and Tillamook earned a Bronze Medal for their one-year aged White Cheddar. These award-winners and many more creameries are listed on the Oregon Cheese Guild’s Oregon Cheese and Food Trail. While nobody knows where the best cheese in the world will come from in 2020, there are plenty of worthy candidates that make a case for a repeat performance from Oregon.

Of course, great tasting cheese starts with high-quality milk, and Oregon is consistently ranked toward the top in the nation. Oregon’s 124,000 cows and 200 dairy farm families produce roughly 2.6 billion pounds of milk annually (more than 302 million gallons). Oregonians love their milk so much, it is literally the official beverage of the State of Oregon.

Oregon’s dairy industry is a vital economic engine for communities statewide, with an estimated impact of $2.7 billion. Dairy is Oregon’s fourth largest commodity by farm revenue after only cattle, greenhouse and nursery products, and hay. Further, dairy farms create a ripple effect in both the agricultural economy and the economic well-being of rural communities, supporting 12,222 jobs.


RELATED LINKS:

Rogue River Blue Wins World’s BEST cheese!
Oregon Cheese Guild, October 18

USA cheese named ‘Best in the World’
USDEC, October 21

For the first time ever, a US cheese is named best in the world
CNN Travel, November 1

The World’s Best Cheese? It’s Blue and Comes From Oregon
The New York Times, November 1

American cheese named world’s best for first time, here’s how much it costs
Fox Business, November 2

France in shock over Oregon cheese winning ‘Best in the World’ honor
Statesman Journal, November 4

Want to taste the Oregon-made, recently named ‘Best Cheese in the World’? Better hurry.
Statesman Journal, November 6 

This may be the moment American cheese, true American cheese, has been waiting for
Washington Post, November 6

Food for Thought: Would You Eat What Cows Eat?

“Why do we give food to cows that could be used to feed people?”

Through this new video we produced with Oregon dairy farmer Derrick Josi (aka TDF Honest Farming), we’re answering this relatively common question by serving up a full helping of facts about what cows eat.

We’re always working to address confusion and misconceptions about dairy. With more than 400,000 views and counting, the video has started some beneficial and enlightening conversations on social media about food byproducts, ruminant digestion, animal nutrition, crop rotation, marginal agricultural land and more.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video, and you’ll see it provides some good food for thought.

Much of cow feed is actually comprised of byproducts from producing food for humans. We can’t digest some of the food that ruminants like cows can. They upcycle feed that might otherwise go to waste, and they turn it into milk, which makes the dairy products that we enjoy.

Additionally, much of the land where cows are located is not ideal or even viable for other crops. “Two thirds of the world’s agricultural land is marginal, which means it cannot be used to grow crops because the soil is not sufficient or there’s not enough water,” says Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. “We have to use that land for ruminant livestock, because it’s the only way to use it.”

Watch for upcoming videos addressing some other questions and misconceptions about dairy. If you’d like us to tackle one of your questions, just let us know!


LET US KNOW

What Will the School Lunch of the Future Look Like?

Quinoa, kale, Brussels sprouts, tamales, green smoothies. These are all foods you might find in a trendy restaurant … or on a lunch tray in your local school cafeteria.

School lunches are fast overcoming their stereotypical reputation as bland and uninspired through some creativity and innovation by school nutrition professionals. On this National School Lunch Week, let’s take a look toward the future.

If you’ve ever tried to concentrate on something when you’re really hungry, you’ll understand that students don’t perform at their best without a nutritious lunch, which they won’t eat unless it tastes good. Schools are committed to providing great food in their cafeterias, and it can be challenging to be innovative when there are so many considerations, including:

• Making it tasty for a wide range of food preferences
• Making it easy to eat in a short period of time
• Cost and budgetary concerns
• Regulations and nutrition standards
• Allergies and dietary restrictions
• Sourcing and availability
• Food safety, storage and logistics
• Limiting food waste

Schools and school districts may operate differently, yet they share the common goal of providing meals their students actually want and will eat. These meals fuel students with the needed nutrients to grow and think. Improving menus can take some creativity, and that’s why culinary training events have proven so popular over the past nine years in Oregon.

Jessica Visinsky, a Registered Dietitian and trained chef, travels the state to teach child nutrition professionals about new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating. The trainings are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, and are offered at no cost to the schools.

As a result, school nutrition professionals are preparing more scratch recipes, often from the Oregon State University Food Hero program. Check out Food Hero for recipes that can be made at home and with kids. Students have responded positively. Many also explore farm to school opportunities to include seasonal fruits, vegetables and other local foods year-round.

The school lunch of the future will likely include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some are taking a serious look at plant-based diets and some are looking at local, sustainably sourced center-of-the-plate proteins such as seafood and beef. These are all complemented well by the nutrition provided in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Restrictions will continue for sodium, sugar and unhealthy fat, driven by science and recommendations from USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

You don’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to see the future of school lunches is looking bright. On this National School Lunch Week, we salute all of those who work so hard to put nutritious and delicious foods on our students’ trays. Thank you!

 

Home recipes of photos shown above … and more.

RELATED LINKS

Girl Scouts Earn Dairy Patch at TMK Creamery

Photos by Joy Foster

For the second year in a row, Girl Scouts from Oregon and SW Washington gathered for a day of fun and education as they earned their dairy patch. And for many of the Girl Scouts, this was the first time they had ever visited a farm or seen a cow up close.

The Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum was designed by the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington, Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. With a focus on hands-on learning, it encourages Girl Scouts to visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the dairy industry.

On September 29, TMK Dairy and Creamery invited the Girl Scouts to earn the dairy patch at a special “Dairy Day” event. Through four different station experiences on their farm, 100 eager Girl Scouts and their families had the opportunity to learn about dairy products from start to finish.

TMK Creamery is a small family farm that began 30 years ago when the owner Todd Koch purchased his first Holstein cow. “It all started with a 4-H project that went too far,” he says. In 1997, the milking herd had grown, so the Koch family built TMK Dairy, and in 2018 they opened a creamery where Koch’s sister Shauna and brother-in-law Bert Garza began making farmstead cheeses.

The Koch family is passionate about agriculture education and have designed their farm and creamery accordingly. Interested parties can schedule tours of the farm, or visit on Saturdays when the farm and creamery is open to the public.

For the Dairy Day event, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with Oregon Aglink, Oregon State University Extension, Oregon Dairy Women and TMK designed the stations to follow the Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Curriculum.

At the first station, TMK’s herdsman Marc Koch taught the Girl Scouts about the milking process. They watched a cow be milked, and even had the opportunity to milk a cow by hand. At this station they also had the opportunity to see calves and learn that they are fed with bottles, their bedding is clean and dry, and their pens are spacious and warm.

Station two, led by OSU Extension representative Jenifer Cruickshank, was all about how farmers care for their cows though nutrition, bedding, barns and pasture. They discussed the difference in dairy breeds and even had the opportunity to pet TMK’s “cowlebrities.”

At station three, Shauna Garza from TMK explained how milk from their cows gets made into delicious cheese. The Girl Scouts were able to look into the creamery through the windows of TMK’s boutique tasting room, where they learned about the importance of keeping the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities clean. Then, Mallory Phelan from Aglink and Tillamook County’s Dairy Princess Ambassador, Araya Wilks, led the group in a fun game designed to demonstrate the many career opportunities in agriculture.

The Girl Scouts were able to finish their patch requirements at the last station, led by the Klamath County Dairy Princess Ambassador, Jaime Evers, as she talked about the importance of dairy in a well-balanced diet, and then the Girl Scouts were able to “taste test” delicious cheese that was made right there on the farm.

“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”

RELATED LINKS:

Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum

Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington

New Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Unveiled at Oregon Dairy Day Event

Who’s Who: Careers in Food

Free Money? Scholarships in Dairy and Agriculture

Did you hear the one about the banker who was arrested for embezzling $100,000 to pay for his daughter’s college education? The judge asked him, “Where were you going to get the rest of the money?”

Jokes aside, the cost of higher education is no laughing matter, and every little bit of financial aid can make a big difference. Luckily, help is available if you know where to look … and you just found the right place.

If you’re interested in studying dairy or agriculture, you may be eligible to apply for one or more of these scholarships:

Dairy

Agriculture

Related

The college or university you attend may also have scholarships reserved for students in your specific field of study, so it is definitely worth checking. If you know of others we missed that should be added to this list, please let us know and we’ll add them.

In the end, choosing a career in agriculture should prove to be a very wise decision. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 60,000 job openings in agriculture annually, and only 35,000 graduates to fill them.

 


RELATED LINK:

Who’s Who: Careers in Food

Diverse Community of Dairies Thrives on Collaboration

When Louie Kazemier of Rickreall Dairy is looking to make an improvement on his farm, he prefers to do so with his eyes wide open. In the world of dairy, that means checking with others in the dairy industry – others who aren’t hesitant about sharing.

“I put all new stalls and stanchions in the barns,” Kazemier said recently, “and before we did that, I visited several dairies with my manager and looked at how they were doing it. And those particular dairymen spent several hours with us answering questions.”

Sharing information, it turns out, is nothing new in an industry that Kazemier describes as “a tight community.” It is a community with a diversity of dairies large and small, organic and conventional, traditional and technologically advanced. Regardless of the size or type, all benefit from collaborative “knowledge transfer” and sharing best practices.

Kazemier said he regularly opens his doors to dairymen, many of whom stop to tour the farm, which is situated on a major Oregon highway.

“We take quite a bit of time to show people around and answer questions,” Kazemier said.

The same can be said of Threemile Canyon Farms, where visits from dairymen are common, according to Dairy Operations Manager Jeff Wendler.

“Probably three to four dairy guys come through in an average month,” Wendler said. “Then we have some other large dairymen in the Midwest, and we’ll go visit their operations to see what they are doing.”

“We are willing to share what we do,” said Threemile General Manager Marty Myers. “It is pretty transparent.”

At Dairylain Farms in Vale, Ore., Warren Chamberlain said he, too, has an open-door policy. Dairylain uses robotics and solar panels in their operation.

“We have a lot of dairymen come out and tour the farm, and we share everything,” Chamberlain said.

The practice is reciprocal, he said.

“I have even gone on road trips and saw a dairy and stopped in there and once they realize I am a dairyman, they pretty much open up and tell me what and how they do things in that area,” Chamberlain said.

At Threemile, Myers said many dairies are interested in the farm’s animal welfare program, and in how the farm handles employee relations.

“We have had folks reach out to us and say, ‘Rather than reinvent the wheel, can you share what you are doing?’” Myers said.

“There are certain things like animal welfare practices that we employ that benefit the entire industry, and that we are happy to share,” said Threemile’s Wendler.

“Dairy is its own family,” Dairylain’s Chamberlain said. “We all have the same issues, and I think we are all pretty willing to help each other figure out what we do that works and how we got there.”

Crowdsourced Oregon Ice Cream Trail Showcases Top Shops

How do you create a new food trail that showcases the top ice cream shops across an entire state? Simple. Ask the experts! And that’s just what the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council did when they crowdsourced the new Oregon Ice Cream Trail.

Crowdsourcing is the process of enlisting the services of a large number of people, typically via the Internet. In this case, it was ice cream aficionados. Starting with an assortment of 10 landmark ice cream shops, people were encouraged to submit and vote for their favorite shops in Oregon. The result? You can now choose your own ice cream adventure to include more than 50 stops clustered within seven geographic regions.

“Building this trail reaffirmed something we already knew – people are passionate about their ice cream,” said Josh Thomas, Senior Director of Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “Thanks to the hundreds of votes we received, this trail showcases the top shops and some of the best ice cream you’ll find anywhere in the world.”

The Oregon Ice Cream Trail includes all varieties of scoop and soft serve ice cream, custard, gelato and even frozen yogurt – all made in Oregon. All stops are featured on a free, downloadable map at OregonIceCreamTrail.com.

So that’s the scoop on the Oregon Ice Cream Trail. If you’re still looking for a good excuse to hit the trail, National Ice Cream Cone Day is coming up on September 22.


RELATED:

You Can Help Build the New Oregon Ice Cream Trail

VOTING CLOSED. CLICK HERE FOR FINAL TRAIL MAP AND SHOP LIST

Here’s the scoop on 10 great ways to celebrate National Ice Cream Day and July Ice Cream Month! Today we’re unveiling the first stops on the new Oregon Ice Cream Trail.

These are 10 quintessential destinations for acquiring frozen happiness (aka ice cream) by the cone or cup. As it stands, the trail includes:

PORTLAND

Cloud City Ice Cream
4525 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland     cloudcityicecream.com
Flavors based on family recipes, made on the premise that ice cream makes an ordinary day into something special.

Fifty Licks
2021 SE Clinton Street #101, Portland    fifty-licks.com
You may have seen the truck around town. The owner loves food science and making ice cream from scratch with local ingredients.

Ruby Jewel Mississippi Scoop Shop
3713 N Mississippi Ave, Portland     rubyjewel.com
Known for distinctly original, artisanal ice cream sandwiches, since 2004. This location was their first shop, which opened in 2010.

Salt & Straw
2035 NE Alberta St., Portland     saltandstraw.com
Characterized by inventive flavors, this small batch shop began in 2011 as a food cart not far from this first brick and mortar location.

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

K & R Drive Inn
201 John Long Rd, Oakland     krdriveinn.com
Located just off of I-5 at Rice Hill, and a favorite pit stop for Umpqua ice cream on road trips since 1970.

Prince Puckler’s Ice Cream     www.princepucklers.com
1605 E 19th Ave, Eugene
With more than 40 flavors, this gourmet ice cream has been made with quality local ingredients since 1975.

Serendipity
502 NE Third Street, McMinnville     serendipityicecream.com
This shop gives job experience and training for adults with developmental disabilities, in addition to great ice cream and a player piano.

CENTRAL OREGON

Goody’s
57100 Beaver Dr., Sunriver     goodyschocolates.com
The ice cream counter at this store continues to be a visitors’ favorite during busy vacation times and a locals tradition year round.

Sno Cap
1053 NW 6th St., Redmond
Originally Peden’s Ice Cream back in the 60s, Sno Cap is an institution and a locals favorite serving Eberhard’s Ice Cream.

OREGON COAST

Tillamook Creamery
4165 Highway 101 North, Tillamook     tillamook.com
With more than 1.3 million guests annually, this is consistently one of Oregon’s top tourist attractions, and many go straight for the ice cream.

And as a bonus seasonal favorite, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the Oregon Dairy Women’s Red Barn at the Oregon State Fair in Salem (open August 23 to September 2).

VOTING CLOSED. CLICK HERE FOR FINAL TRAIL MAP AND SHOP LIST


RELATED:

How We Celebrated June Dairy Month

Since 1937, June has been designated as a special month to celebrate milk and all things dairy. National Dairy Month is an annual tradition that recognizes the contributions the dairy industry has made to health and happiness around the world.

Oregon has a lot to celebrate, and what better way to kick things off than World Milk Day? After all, milk is Oregon’s official state beverage. On every day of June, we served up some cheesy, dairy-themed jokes on social media. As an example, this was one of the crowd favorites: Why was the dairy farmer the slowest player on the baseball field? You’d be slow too if your jersey weighed 1,000 pounds!

Cloverdale dairy farmer Ron Hurliman served as Grand Marshal of the June Dairy Parade in Tillamook

June Dairy Parade Grand Marshal Ron Hurliman (right), with wife Vonnie. Courtesy of Tillamook Headlight Herald.

There were several dairy events and observances throughout the month as well. Cloverdale dairy farmer Ron Hurliman served as Grand Marshal of the June Dairy Parade in Tillamook. With more than 120 entries, the parade is a centerpiece of the June Dairy Festival alongside the Tillamook County YMCA Milk Run and the Tillamook County Rodeo. You can read all about the festivities in this special insert from the Tillamook Headlight Herald. Capital Press also had this special section for June Dairy Month with several great stories.

On Father’s Day, we shared a poetic tribute to dairy dads called “Until the Cows Come Home,” and on the first day of summer we shared a delicious recipe for Yogurt and Dill Smashed Potatoes. Our partner Food Hero made milk the featured food of the month and shared this great handout.

We sponsored the Milk Carton Boat Race in partnership with the Royal Rosarians, the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, Darigold and many others. A Rose Festival tradition since 1973, the family-friendly event features kids, adults and teams racing across a pond on boats that float atop empty milk cartons and milk jugs. KGW television’s Drew Carney highlighted the event on his Sunrise show and KATU’s Katherine Kisiel was an event announcer.

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At the national level, a running theme throughout the month involved dairy’s contributions to fighting food insecurity and child hunger. The “Real Love Convoy” brought Undeniably Dairy branded trucks to New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Cleveland for media opportunities and public events featuring dairy. This included an appearance with spokeswoman Laila Ali and dairy farmer Katie Dotterer-Pyle on Good Morning America. Locally, we helped promote summer meals programs in Oregon with this special video featuring Oregon’s Fuel Up to Play 60 spokesperson Anthony Newman.

While National Dairy Month may be over, we’ll continue to celebrate dairy year round. Oh, and did we mention that July is National Ice Cream Month? Stay tuned for a fun announcement on National Ice Cream Day (July 21)!

Until the Cows Come Home: A Poetic Tribute to Dairy Dads

Until the Cows Come Home
by Josh Thomas


It’s the dawning of a new day,
The sun rises on the farm.
A farmer holds his infant child
Bundled in his arms.

The father speaks the same words
That his dad spoke years ago.
He says, “Son I’m mighty glad you’re here
And there’s something you should know.

This dairy’s more than milking cows,
It’s about our family’s love,
And I’ll always be there for you
Just like the stars above.
When days are rough and times are tough, wherever you may roam,
You’ll find me right there by your side until the cows come home.”

As he grows up, dad teaches son
Everything he knows.
That little helper’s by his side
In heat and bitter cold.

But then one day son breaks the news
He’ll leave if he’s allowed,
With plans to go to college and
Dad just says, “Son I’m proud.

This dairy’s more than milking cows,
It’s about our family’s love,
And I’ll always be there for you
Just like the stars above.
When days are rough and times are tough, wherever you may roam,
You’ll find me right there by your side until the cows come home.”

The years go by so fast and now
The boy is fully grown.
Graduation, marriage,
And the son has come back home.

Dad’s tired eyes look to the skies
As the sun is getting low.
The son says, “Dad I’m glad you’re here,
And there’s something you should know.

Our dairy’s more than milking cows,
This I’ve come to know.
And dad we just found out
We’ll have a daughter of our own.
Though days are rough and times are tough, we’ll call this dairy home.
You’ll find us right there by your side until the cows come home.”


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