The first settlers arrived in the Tillamook Valley in 1851 and soon discovered that the wet, cool climate was not good for raising crops but it was great for pasture land. It wasn’t long before they had more cheese and butter than they could consume but no way to get it to the markets so they built a ship to deliver products to Portland and Astoria. This is a community that really works together! By 1909 the creameries had formed a co-op which is still in existence today with 110 member farms, mostly within Tillamook County.
The factory is so large and so popular that a full factory tour is not possible. Instead visitors can look over the factory floor where blocks of cheese are weighed and packaged. Interpretive signs and videos tell the history of Tillamook and explain the cheese making process. Free cheese samples are available but most people come for the ice cream. It’s crowded, chaotic, and noisy so if you want ice cream go upstairs where the lines are shorter.
The visitor center is accessible and it’s easy to view the factory floor. One small section has steps and is not accessible.
This place is crazy busy and the parking lot is huge. The RV parking area is at the far end of a gravel lot. There isn’t a sidewalk so wheelchair users may wish to be dropped off at the visitor center entrance.