Thursday, March 19
Happy Friday, everybody! Today I have a few links to share, but first we need to talk Tillamookies.
When I visited Tillamook last summer, we had the chance to sample a few ice cream products that weren’t yet released to market. I have been waiting for those two products to come out and one of them finally has! I would like to introduce to you the Tillamookie! What’s a Tillamookie? Why it’s an ice cream sandwich made with waffle cone cookies with a dark chocolate coating and Tillamook ice cream or gelato. They come in vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, mint chocolate chip and strawberry flavors and they are SO GOOD. I’m not just saying this because I met the cows where the cream came from. Seriously, best ice cream sandwiches ever.
Tillamook kindly mailed some samples to our family (yes, we did eat them right before dinner yesterday…the kids were delighted).
Tillamook is ready to mail Tillamookie samples to one of you lucky people, too! This may not be a high-retail-value giveaway, but it’s one of my all-time favorite giveaways yet! To enter, just do the following!* Leave a comment on this post! That’s it! If you want, tell us which flavor you think will be your favorite – vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, strawberry or mint chocolate chip. (Mine is strawberry!) It’s also our weekly show and tell post, so feel free to share anything you like! Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow) Bonus entry: Follow me on Instagram (leave a separate comment indicating you follow) Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest (leave a separate comment indicating you follow) Bonus entry: Follow Tillamook on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow) *Comments must be posted by Thursday, 3/27/15 at Midnight PT. Prize must be shipped to an address in the continental United States. Winner will receive one box of each of the four flavors and will be randomly selected.
The giveaway winner was Comment #3 Lindsay R, who said, “I love this giveaway. Especially if you give it away to me.”
Food link time!
This week on Babble:
And this week on Parade’s Community Table:
- 16 Wonderfully White Desserts for Spring! (or maybe your first day of spring is filled with snow, in which case white is still appropriate!)
Show and Tell time! I know I just turned the comment section into a giveaway entry extravaganza, but feel free to share whatever you want in the comments anyway – it will count as your freebie entry for the giveaway!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 9:50 pm 152 Comments
Categories: babble, Community Table, Giveaways, show and tell, the goods Tags: babble, community table, giveaway, tillamook, tillamookies, white desserts |
Thursday, August 28
Earlier this summer I received an email from Tillamook, inviting me to visit the Tillamook cheese factory in Oregon as well as see one of their dairy farms. After a little “please pretty please can I ditch our family for three days” begging with Nate, I promptly emailed Tillamook and said YES to the invitation. We love Tillamook around our house. From the time I was a wee thing my mom taught me that Tillamook cheese was the best. Not only do I think their products are great, but I always love getting a peek into food production, so I couldn’t wait for this trip. (I want to add a little something here, copying and pasting one of the comments from one of my mom’s best friends, Jona, who is the source of our family’s loyalty! “Your mom was indoctrinated by me when she was 17, Jane. So glad you loved Tillamook and beyond. I hope you saw my grandfather’s picture in the Cheese Factory. He was one of the earliest cheesemakers back in the early 1900’s. I am so proud of that heritage.”)
Two weeks ago I flew to Portland, OR, where I arrived at what appeared to be the set for Portlandia. Oh, wait, it was just Portland. Portland IS Portlandia, in case you were wondering. I loved Portland and had a wonderful afternoon exploring and eating my way around town. A delicious lunch at Tasty n Alder, dessert at Voodoo Doughnut, and a large portion of my very short time spent at Powell’s Books, which is now on the list of my most favorite places on the planet, made for a pretty perfect day.
Let’s get down to the business at hand, shall we? Cheese! I have so much to share about Tillamook it’s almost overwhelming, so I’m going to let my pictures from the trip guide me through this post.
We headed west from Portland to Tillamook, OR. The drive was unbelievably picturesque and you can’t miss the factory once you reach town. There I am in front of the GIANT Tillamook sign with Stephanie from 52 Kitchen Adventures…she is wonderful, btw.
We of course were given a tour of the factory. Anyone can visit the factory for tours and to shop in the store, so if you’re ever in the area be sure to stop in! We also had a chance to go behind the scenes and see where the cheese is aged and stored. The facilities are quite impressive.
Have you ever noticed a boat on the Tillamook logo? Well, there it is! The ship Morning Star was used in the early days to deliver cheese up and down the coast. Obviously it’s a little landlocked now but it is just as beautiful as ever.
Part of our tour was lead by Dale Baumgartner, Tillamook Head Cheesemaker (a.k.a. the Head Cheese…that joke is irresistible). Dale has been working for Tillamook for for over 40 years and he knows his cheese. It was fascinating learning how the cheese is made today, but maybe even more interesting hearing about his early years at Tillamook. I always love talking with people who truly love their work and are such experts at what they do. It’s inspiring to me and something, quite honestly, I can’t imagine.
Want some fun cheesemaking facts? Here you go! (I stole these from the signs on the tour.)
- Each of the eight stainless steel cheese vats holds approximately 53,500 pounds of fresh milk. On average each vat makes three batches of cheese per day.
- It takes 10 pounds (1.16 gallons) of milk to make 1 pound of Tillamook cheese.
- More then 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the plant each day. Approximately 167,000 pounds of cheese are made each day.
In addition to learning all about how the cheese is made, we also spent part of our day with Jill Allen, Manager of Product Quality. Jill leads the sensory team, which spends all day every day tasting every single batch of everything that is made at the plant, from butter to yogurt to cheese to ice cream to sour cream. Jill was equally as fascinating to listen to, plus she let us taste all kinds of delicious things. And, in case you are wondering, her team expectorates everything they taste so that their tastebuds are as ready to go on the first bite as they are on the last. Bottom line, after everything we learned about sensory, I would absolutely not want to be on that team! I’m glad other people are up for the job!
During our session with Jill, we taste tested Tillamook products alongside leading competitors. You can even tell from this crappy indoor photo how different Tillamook’s cheddar is compared to other brands – the difference was night and day! Many factors play into this, from the quality of the milk to the water content or the cheese to the smaller blocks of cheese that are made. Great care is taken at every step in the process, making for a higher quality final product.
I think one of my favorite things we tasted that day were the cheddar cheese curds. The curds is what the cheese looks like before it’s compressed naturally into blocks. Sadly you can only buy the curds at the Tillamook factory store, which was, by the way, awesome.
That evening we drove west, where we had a view of the amazing Oregon coast.
We stayed at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, where my hotel room looked out on this:
I didn’t want to leave. But they made me, which wasn’t too hard since they gave me cute yellow boots and told me I could go look at cute baby cows. Sold!
Before we flew home, we spent the morning at one of the Tillamook dairy farms, owned by Ryan and Wendy. Tillamook is a cooperative, so the farmers all have a stake in the business. There are less than 150 farms in the co-op and they are all within a fairly short distance of the plant. And, from what we witnessed, the cows on those farms are living good lives as Tillamook employees.
Here’s the deal. We did not hear one “MOO” the entire time we were on the tour. Wendy said that cows only “moo” when they are discontent or warning other cows about something, so if they’re quiet, it pretty much means they’re happy and content.
Wendy and Ryan were gracious hosts and taught us all kinds of interesting things about being dairy farmers. I think what struck us most is how much work it is and how tied they are to the farm. It’s really hard for them to ever get away and I think they said it’s been 2 years since their last vacation. Heavens. And Ryan is up before 3:00 AM every day. I can’t even imagine.
They explained that it costs more to make high-quality milk but that Tillamook incentivizes the farmers to make high-quality milk, so it’s worth it. It is amazing how much goes into the process of milking cows twice a day. This particular farm has around 400 cattle and it costs $7/day/cow just for feed. Ryan is a 4th-generation dairy farmer, so he knows what he’s doing. He and Wendy were both incredibly relaxed and happy.
Needless to say I had a fabulous time, surrounded by wonderful people, delicious food and cute cows! I learned a lot and am so appreciative that I was able to be a part of the trip. Also, we had the chance to taste a new Tillabar flavor that is coming out next year and it is AMAZING. I’m not allowed to tell you what it is, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it hits stores!
Thank you, Tillamook!
Friday, August 15
Happy Friday! I’m currently sitting in Pacific City, Oregon looking out my hotel window at the ocean, where there is a HUGE rock poking through the fog to say good morning. My visit to Tillamook has been amazing and I’ll definitely share more next week! For now you can go look at all my pictures from the trip so far on Instagram and I need to go get gussied up to meet some Tillamook cows!
Here are my food posts on Babble and Cosmo this week!
- Why Cooking with Kids Is Worth the Effort
- 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen: Sofia’s Tea Sandwiches and Lettuce Cups
- 16 Strawberry Shortcake Recipes That Are Totally to Die For
Everyone gets a turn during show and tell, so please share your own stuff!