I love Tillamook cheese and have for as long as I can remember. Way back before we had kids and actually, now that I think about it before I got married (26+ years ago), the hubby and I happened to be driving past Tillamook, Oregon, and noticed that they had tours. We were on a meandering trip down to California from Washington so we decided to take a few hours to visit.
Even back then, in the very early ’80’s, before most manufacturer’s really cared about the nutrition and quality of their products, Tillamook did. We were so impressed by the cleaniless of their operation, the openess of allowing us the consumers to peek in, and of course the taste. It was seeing the cheese and all the care taken to make it that has made me a customer for 30-years.
Now that I’m taking an even closer look at my food, I’m thrilled to find out that Tillamook meets almost all of my tough criteria!
Currently, all of the milk and cream used in the production of Tillamook dairy products, e.g., cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, and sour cream comes from cows not supplemented with artificial growth hormones.
Since 2005, long before it was “popular” they stopped the use of artificial growth hormones – love that! Granted, if it was organic milk, I’d be happier, but hey, this is fabulous! On top of that, they don’t use animal rennet*! And, the microbial/vegetable based enzymes are Kosher and Halal certified, and is approved for vegetarian products.
All of our cheeses are made with a microbial/vegetable based enzymes, with the exception of Tillamook Vintage White Medium Cheddar Cheese and Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, which use a traditional rennet.
Why does it matter?
Natural calf rennet is extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber (the abomasum) of young, unweaned calves. These stomachs are a by-product of veal production. If rennet is extracted from older calves (grass-fed or grain-fed) the rennet contains less or no chymosin but a high level of pepsin and can only be used for special types of milk and cheeses. As each ruminantmother, there are milk-specific rennets available, such as kid goat rennet especially for goat‘s milk and lamb rennet for sheep‘s milk. produces a special kind of rennet to digest the milk of its own
Tillamook puts out a quality product and without artificial coloring and disgusting calf bellies. My favorite? Mild, but the hub’s loves their sharp.
Want to learn more? Visit the Tillamook site, fan club, check out new recipes or post your own, or even shop online. Going to be near Tillamook , Oregon? Take their self-tour, especially if you have kids. It’s educational and fun with a treat at the end!
* With the exception of Tillamook Vintage White Medium Cheddar Cheese and Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, which use a traditional rennet
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