Bandon cheese woes

Among other things, Bandon, Oregon is known for two things: cranberries and cheese. Whenever we’ve been to Bandon we’d stop at the Bandon Cheese store and indulge in a bit of tasting and shopping. Not long ago, though, someone told me that the Tillamook Creamery had bought and made Bandon Cheese, though still sold it under the Bandon label.

Now I see that Tillamook has closed the Bandon cheese store completely. So, now you can’t even buy Bandon cheese in Bandon? That’s just dumb. What’s worse, the cheese is now being made in Wisconsin—Tillamook can’t even be bothered to make their own cheese?

They’re even goofier than that, according to the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project article I linked to above:

Another aspect of the sordid Tale of Tillamook and Bandon encompasses Tillamook’s misguided pursuit of its newly acquired “Bandon” trademark. Tillamook threatened the city of Bandon, Oregon with a lawsuit for violating its intellectual property by using the name “Bandon.”

Threatened the city itself for violating the trademark? Uh, hello?

Lee on RoguePundit has more on the closure and goofy Tillamook practices, too. Of course, he has a good point:

At one time, the purpose of the store wasn’t just sales, but promoting the brand. Since the brand looks rather hollow when the cheese has to be imported for sale, maybe it’s better to not remind folks that the Bandon Cheeses are just flavors that can be made anywhere. The attractive label with the Coquille River Lighthouse is just marketing.

Although the flavors can’t necessarily be “made” anywhere; cheese acquires some of its characteristics from the types of food the cows (or goats, or whatever milk-producing animal) eats, and that can certainly be regional.

Anyway, I just thought it sucked. That’s one less neat thing about Bandon, and that much more unemployment for Oregon.


I was looking at a cookbook over at my parents’ house this evening and came across a general primer on making cheese. I was under the impression that making cheese was a rather complicated procedure, but it turns out it’s not, really; only time-consuming.

Basically you separate milk into whey and curds, and then drain and age the curds until they become cheese. Well, okay, it’s slightly more complicated than that, but still.

While making cheese at home may seem like some to be some kind of insane throwback rustic hobby, it appeals to me in the same way that brewing beer or making wine does—it’s a way to recapture some of the old skills that seem to get lost sometimes in our mass-production-consumerism society. And, it’s reflective on the way I was raised; growing up in rural Central Oregon, I’m just more used to the idea of growing and raising your own food. Move along now.

Anyway, here’s a link to a Google search for “how to make cheese”.