New Bandon Cheese Factory Opens May 8th, 2013

Face Rock logoNext Wednesday, May 8, 2013 the Bandon Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official debut of Face Rock Creamery in Bandon, Oregon. This is not the first cheese factory in Bandon. Many Oregonians and travelers along Highway 101 recall the old Bandon Creamery and its cheese curds fondly. But the former creamery (which had been open since the 1930s) struggled financially throughout the 1980s and 1990s, changed hands several times and even closed at one point. In 2000, the Tillamook County Creamery Association purchased the failing factory (see an article about the sale here). In 2002, Tillamook closed the creamery entirely and the facility was later demolished -- and those latter years are still a sore subject among Bandon devotees.

Now cheese is returning to Bandon, thanks to the efforts of developer Greg Drobot, Bandon city leaders and the Port of Bandon. At the helm of Face Rock Creamery will be cheesemaker Brad Sinko, who was the cheesemaker at Beecher's Handmade Cheese for a number of years before returning to his hometown. Brad's father Joe Sinko was one of the former owners of the Bandon Creamery, so it's fitting that son Brad will be at the helm as a new chapter of cheesemaking commences in this small town on the southern Oregon coast.

In fact, Sinko has been busy these past few months - he's already been making cheese at Rogue Creamery in Central Point Oregon, 160+ miles to the east, for several months. Face Rock Creamery cheese curds made their debut at the Oregon Cheese Festival this past March. Starting next week, devotees will finally be able to stop by the creamery in Bandon to get their cheese fix, just like the days of old.

Cheese News November 2012

@@  Nancy Leson of the Seattle Times wrote a glowing piece recently about Meghan McKenna, cheesemaker at Washington's Mountain Lodge Farm. I recently visited the farm, tucked into the foothills of Mt. Rainier east of Tacoma, and I have to agree, this cheesemaker is one to watch! @@  Christine Hyatt has produced a series of outstanding videos about a number of Oregon's cheesemakers. Her latest covers Liz Alvis of Portland Creamery (see here).

@@ Now open in Portland - Clay Pigeon Winery and its associated wine bar, Cyril's at Clay Pigeon. This project is the brainchild of Sasha Davies and Michael Claypool; Sasha is well known in cheese circles as an expert cheesemonger and author of The Guide to West Coast Cheese and the new The Cheesemaker's Apprentice: An Insider's Guide to the Art and Craft of Homemade Artisan Cheese, among many other things. Michael and Sasha's Cheese by Hand project chronicled their 2006 trip across the country visiting dozens of artisan cheese makers.

@@  Bandon, Oregon used to be famous for its cheese factory. The factory struggled financially though, and in 2002 the Tillamook County Creamery Association purchased the factory, later closing it. Now plans are underway to revive the legacy of cheesemaking on the southern Oregon coast - Face Rock Creamery hopes to be open by Summer 2013.

@@  It's what they call "Cyber Monday," and don't forget that you can also order cheese online as well as iPads and Xboxes... A number of the Pacific Northwest's cheesemakers offer online ordering, including Rogue Creamery, Mt. Townsend CreameryBeecher's Handmade Cheese, Tumalo Farms, and Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheese. You can also order cheese online from Oregon State University (the new Beaver Classic) and Washington State University (Cougar Gold plus several other styles). Other cheesemakers, including Little Brown Farm on Whidbey Island in Washington and Briar Rose Creamery in Oregon's wine country, host on-farm stores if you're in their area. Don't forget local cheese for the holidays!

@@  Speaking of Beecher's Handmade Cheese, word is that they're producing a new cow's milk cheese at the New York plant called Dutch Hollow Dulcet. I guess we can't really consider this a new Northwest cheese, since it's made from New York milk in a New York facility...can we?

American Cheese Society Competition 2012 :: Northwest Winners

Beecher's Handmade Cheese of Seattle took the top prize in this years American Cheese Society Competition with its lovely Flagsheep cheese! (note: that's not Flagship, the other cheese Beecher's is known for). Flagsheep - photo on the left - is a mixed milk cheese made from cow and sheep's milk and has a lovely, rich buttery flavor. Congratulations to Kurt Dammeier and the crew at Beecher's on the win! It's also worth noting that this is the 3rd time in four years that a cheese from the Pacific Northwest has taken Best in Show at the competition - Rogue Creamery won in both 2009 and 2011 for its Rogue River Blue. Find the complete list of winners here.

Best in Show:   Beecher's Handmade Cheese - Flagsheep (WA)

2nd runner up - Valley Shepherd Crema de Blue  (NJ)

3rd runner up -  Emmi Roth Grand Cru Surchoix (WI)

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Beecher's Handmade Cheese (WA)

1st Place - Cheddar Flavored with Peppers - Marco Polo Reserve 1st Place - Original Recipe (sheep's milk or mixed milk) - Flagsheep 3rd Place - Cheddar with Sweet Flavorings - Yule Kase

Black Sheep Creamery (WA)

1st place - Open Category Aged Over 60 days (w/ sheep's milk) - St. Helens

Briar Rose Creamery (OR)

3rd Place - Fresh Goat's Milk Cheese (flavor added) - Chocolate Chèvre Truffles

Mt. Townsend Creamery (WA)

1st Place - Monterey Jack (cow's milk) - New Moon

Mystery Bay Farm (WA)

2nd Place - Fresh Goat Cheese - Fresh chèvre

Ochoa's Queseria (OR)

3rd place - Fresh Cheeses (all milks) - Don Froylan Queso Oaxaca

Rivers Edge Chévre (OR)

3rd Place - Original Recipe (goat's milk) - Beltane 3rd Place - Farmstead Category/Soft (all milks) - Siltcoos

Rogue Creamery (OR)

2nd Place - Blue Veined Cheese with External Rind (cow's milk) - Flora Nelle 1st Place - Rindless Blue Veined (cow's milk) - Oregon Blue

Tillamook County Creamery Association (OR)

1st Place - Colby (cow's milk) 3rd Place - Mature Cheddar Aged Between 24-48 mo. 3rd Place - Flavored Montery Jacks - Hot Habanero Jack 2nd Place - Unsalted Butter (cow's milk)

Willamette Valley Cheese Co. (OR)

3rd Place - Dutch Style (all milks) - Farmstead Gouda 3rd Place - Open Category Aged Over 60 days (with sheep's milk) - Perrydale

Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheese (WA)

1st Place - Blue Veined Cheese with External Rind (cow's milk) - Big Boy Blue

[photo courtesy Beecher's Handmade Cheese]

Beecher's New York Set to Open June 24, 2011

Beecher's to Open June 24 in New York CityAt last, the opening is immiment.....according to owner Kurt Dammeier, the New York outpost of Seattle's Beecher's Handmade Cheese will open its doors June 24, 2011. Enthusiasm has been slowly building - most recently, Eater NY announced the arrival of a giant stainless steel bulk tank and other cheesemaking equipment at the new facility. Like its Seattle outpost, the NYC store will make cheese in-house while-u-watch as well as sell cheese and other goodies. They've even got their own cheese in the works - Beecher's Flatiron cheese, a washed rind cheese aged on premises.