Oregon-Made Artisan Cheeses

by Tamara Muldoon  

I love cheese. So, I was delighted to discover that nearly every style of cheese is made right here in Oregon, my home state. Whether from small urban creameries or tiny family-run dairy farms, one can find an astounding variety of delicious artisan cheeses to dress up any cheese board.   

 The Oregon Cheese Guild represents cheesemakers across the state. Their Oregon Artisan Cheese and Food Trail map provides a helpful guide to finding them. The Guild also hosts annual events including the Oregon Cheese Festival held in March in southern Oregon, Oregon Cheese Month in September, and The Wedge Festival held each October in Portland.  

Oregon Coast  

A fifth-generation dairy farm, Nestucca Bay Creamery in Cloverdale makes artisan cow’s-milk cheeses including Cheddar, Gouda, Havarti, Swiss, fontina, camembert, feta and others. Find their products at local farmers markets and Food Roots Farm Table in Tillamook.  

Visit Face Rock Creamery in Bandon to sample handmade Cheddar, Monterey jack and fromage blanc, also available at Coos Bay Village Café, select stores and online.  

Willamette Valley / Portland  

Helvetia Creamery, near Hillsboro, specializes in Swiss Alpine-style cheese. Firm and flavorful, their Apfelheller and Helvetia Bergkäse can be purchased from the self-service farm store at neighboring Schoch Dairy and Creamery (schochdairy.com).  

Fraga Farm in Gales Creek makes delicious organic goat’s-milk cheeses including chevre, Camembert, Farmhouse, feta and “Goatzarella.” The farm has earned Animal Welfare Approved certification. Buy their products at the self-service farm stand, Peoples Co-op in Portland or regional farmers markets.  

At Portland Creamery, their mission is to “nourish our community by supplying delicious, nutritious, local, and ethically produced dairy products.” They do that with tasty selections of chevre, available through their online store, area farmers markets and specialty grocery outlets.   

Meet the cows at TMK Creamery near Canby. Shop for small-batch cheeses including Cheddar and queso fresco. Then, order lunch and craft beer or local wine and relax on the covered patio.  

In 2021, Briar Rose Creamery was ranked among the Top 50 U.S. Cheesemakers by Food & Wine Magazine. This artisan cheese maker located in Dundee produces cow and sheep’s-milk cheese sold at their farm store and area farmers markets.  

Southern Oregon  

Rogue Creamery is another pioneer of Oregon cheese, founded nearly 90 years ago. Their organic farm in Grants Pass is a model for sustainable dairy farming. Its Rogue River Blue was named World Champion at the 2019 World Cheese Awards, a first for an American cheese. Shop at the dairy’s farm stand, their Cheese Shop in Central Point and other retail outlets.  

Visit Crushpad Creamery at Wooldridge Creek Winery in Grants Pass to combine wine and cheese tasting. The creamery produces both fresh, soft cheeses and aged cheeses from local, organic milk.  

Central Oregon  

A small family-run dairy, Umapine Creamery near Milton-Freewater makes Gouda-style, Harvarti, Farmstead and other cheeses. Their cheeses are sold at Umapine Creamery, Tate’s Market in Umapine, Rolling Stone Bakery in Pendleton, Hines Meat Co. in Pendleton and La Grande, Community Merchants in La Grande, Zupan’s in Portland and local farmers markets.