Our

History

Our History

For 110 years, we’ve stood behind the honest values of our farmer-owners. It’s from them we’ve learned passion can’t be faked, hard work can’t be outsmarted, and real food is worth fighting for.

Stewardship

It’s been a part of our journey since the very beginning. And it’s how we’re working toward Dairy Done Right®.

When you get right down to it, being good stewards starts with a sense of caring. We believe that caring for cows and farms, for people and products, for our community and the environment is not just about smart business, it’s about staying true to our values.

The Beginning

See What’s Changed Since 1909 and What Will Never Change

The Tillamook Valley
1851

The first European settlers arriving in Tillamook Valley find a silver lining to the wet, cool climate. All that rain makes green, green grass, perfect for raising dairy cows.

The Morning Star
1854

Tillamook’s farmers have butter and milk to sell—but hauling it over rough mountain roads takes so long, it would spoil.

The fastest route to Portland is by water, so they build Oregon’s first official ship—the Morning Star—to carry their dairy goods to market.

Cheese King of the Coast
1894

Renowned Canadian cheesemaker Peter McIntosh brings his cheddar cheese-making expertise to Tillamook County, where he teaches the locals all he knows, earning the nickname “Cheese King of the Coast.”

When It All Began
1909

Several small creameries join forces to ensure all cheese made in the Tillamook Valley will be the same high quality. Each creamery contributes $10 to start the cooperative: the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA).

Our First Slogan
1921

Tillamook is officially trademarked! Our first slogan—“Look for Tillamook on the Rind”—let folks know that the cheese wedge they brought home was genuine Tillamook quality. Running ads in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles pays off: sales skyrocket, and demand grows.

On The Rind
1930

How did we put the name Tillamook on each and every cheese? Read this handheld stamper backward, and you’ll see. In addition to a loaf stamper, we made a flat version so you could roll a round cheese wheel over it. Every TCCA creamery had one.

Highest Quality
1931

High standards, start to finish: that’s how our cheesemakers win awards. Milk inspector Guy Ford, a former farmer, makes sure dairy farmers keep everything on the farm up to TCCA quality standards. Cheese inspector Fred Christensen visits every TCCA creamery, grading the cheese.

Making Ice Cream
1947

We start making ice cream as an experiment, selling our original ice cream brand, Tillamook Maid, around town. When the new plant opens, we swing into full-scale production. By the ’50s, you could buy Tillamook Ice Cream all around town, up into Clatsop County, and south to Lincoln County.

Fueled by Innovation
1949

The new plant features innovative ideas. The triple-deck system in cold storage lets us stack cheese higher without crushing cheese on the bottom. Carl Fenk, on the lift truck, slides a one-ton load of cheese into an empty slot.

Prize Winning
1958

When we say “Tillamook is the prize-winningest cheese,” we’re not talking through our hats. By 1958, when this ad ran in West Coast papers, our cheesemakers had already taken home hundreds of awards—with hundreds more to come from state, national, and world competitions.

Tillie of Tillamook
1958

Sweet-faced Tillie of Tillamook, a little brown Jersey cow, helped us promote Tillamook Cheese for more than 50 years. She popped up in ads as our spokescow, then came to life, so to squeak, as the beloved rubber toy you see here.

Packaging Redesign
1966

Tillamook packaging is redesigned to make it easier for customers to identify genuine Tillamook Cheese. This new packaging incorporated an illustration of our historic Morning Star ship.

Go Cheesemakers
1980

A big supporter of local schools, we’ve always been proud of Tillamook youth—proud enough to feature the high school football team in a Sunset magazine ad. (Later on, when they needed to rebuild their stadium, we donated $150,000 to get the project rolling.)

Sour Cream Hits the Scene
1993

Introducing: tangy, creamy Tillamook Sour Cream made with high-quality milk, enzymes, and cream. From this day forward, baked potatoes and nachos would never be the same.

Yogurt Debuts
1994

Tillamook Yogurt makes its debut. Fruit finally gets the yummy showcase it deserves, and spoons around the world rejoice.

Second Cheese Creamery
2001

Our farmer-owners clearly see—based on the popularity of Tillamook Cheese—that we need to increase our cheesemaking capacity beyond what’s possible at this creamery. In 2001, we open our second cheesemaking plant in Boardman, Oregon, with the same recipes, strong values, and high-quality standards. Now, employees in both of our creameries are working day and night to keep up with our fans’ appetites!

100 Years
2009

We celebrate 100 years as a farmer-owned co-op…hooray! Some of our current farmer-owners are even the great-great-great grandchildren of our pioneering founders.

Loaf Love Tour
2010

We roll out our first Loaf Love Tour, touring the country in custom, bright-orange VW buses on a mission to “Bring tasty cheese to the people!” The tour kicks off in Tucson, Arizona, traveling to more than 100 cities in nine states.

Diary Done Right
2015

With an audacious new marketing campaign, we put Tillamook’s lasting commitment to quality—Dairy Done Right—in the spotlight. The bold ads take a stand, using straight talk to tell food fans about the dairy choices they make every day

Great Food Drive
2016

For the 10th year in a row, we sponsor the Great Food Drive, a fundraising campaign to support the Oregon Food Bank’s fight against hunger in our state. Over the years, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the food bank provide meals for people in need.

Our New Creamery
2018

Welcome to our new Creamery (take a digital tour here), rebuilt in 2018 to create an even bigger and better experience for generations of Tillamook fans to come.

Founded by a collection of farmers
And they continue to be at the heart of all we do, providing us with high-quality milk and governing our business. Today, dairy farmers are facing challenges: economic uncertainty, more scrutiny and constant change, to name just a few. While farming is a challenging industry, TCCA is right there with our farmer-owners, providing the support and resources farmers need to not only survive but thrive.