Four big eared, brown eyed dairy cows at their feeding stalls at TMK Farms & Creamery intently eye the photographer.

The big cheese at TMK Creamery

Jarrod Lyman | 12/13/2017 | Canby, Farms & Wineries, Food & Drink

TMK Farm

I had a very moooving experience at TMK Creamery in Canby recently. Let me explain.

I'm a cheese lover, I eat probably far more than my share. When I learned that a local dairy had recently expanded their operation to create some amazing cheddars and are showcasing that operation to the public, I was all in. I knew I had to see this. So, we headed over to meet the family that makes these wonderful creations. 

Amber the cow

Amber the cow, the lucky lady who got to be the 
first cow I ever milked.

I quickly learned that the family includes the dozen or so dairy cows who are responsible for the milk that becomes the cheeses. Their philosophy is that cows that are treated well and happy make a higher quality milk, which makes a higher quality cheese. The cows were definitely happy, even the one I was tasked with milking. I've never milked a cow before. I could count on one hand the number of times I've been close enough to a cow that I could have milked it. Nevertheless they entrusted me with the task of getting milk from this very large animal. She was actually quite smart too. There's a rope you pull to give the cow more grain while it's at the milking station. This cow pulled that chain by herself. I'm thinking of getting something similar installed at my cubicle at work. 

Once the cows are milked, it goes into the creamery where they pasteurize it and do all the other magic that transforms that milk into cheese. It's fascinating to see the process, and soon you can too. They're in the process of opening their on-site store. Once that happens near the start of the new year, they'll also offer tours and cheese making classes to let you get a firsthand look at how it all works. The family is very keen on transparency and letting people know exactly what is in the food they eat. What better way to do that than watch it being made from start to finish?

The cheeses truly are delicious. There are numerous varieties of cheddars to try. My personal favorite was the smoked pepper flake. The smoked aspect is done subtly enough that it doesn't override the creaminess of the cheese, and the pepper flakes add just enough heat to let you know it's there. All in all, a well-balanced array of flavors. The only thing I was missing was a glass of wine.

Until their tours and country store open, you can buy their cheeses at a handful of local spots, including Ebner's Custom Meats and Cutsforth Market in Canby. Once those tours start happening, be sure to book yours; you'll have a blast!

Jarrod Lyman has more than 13 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest

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