I had a very moooving experience at TMK Creamery in Canby. Let me explain.
I'm a cheese lover; I eat probably far more than my fair share. When I learned that a local dairy had 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.
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 are 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 and this cow pulled that chain by herself. I'm thinking of getting something similar installed for my cubicle at work.
Once the cows are milked, that milk goes into the creamery where it's pasteurized and transformed into magical cheese. It's fascinating to see the process, and you can at their on-site store and tasting room. While there, you can even take a tour if you book one ahead of time. 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?
They also have a special Miss TMK's Single Cow Cheese that they tout as the world's only "single cow cheese." All the milk from their prized cow, Miss TMK, is kept separate. This milk is then used in the special aged cheddar that is only available there at the farm. Transparency is one thing, but knowing exactly what cow all the milk that made your cheese came from, that's unique. And delicious, don't forget delicious.
In terms of a fun family trip, TMK really checks all the boxes. You've got adorable animal encounters, amazing cheese tasting plus a full menu of options you can eat there or even take a bit of the farm home with you. If you get a little hungry, they have a food cart where you can try one of their grilled cheese sandwiches, only one guess where the cheese comes from. Their menu also rotates with various products from their and partner farms. From hamburger meat or sausage to breads and even fruit spreads, there's a lot of tasty happening at the farm.
For another fun options that isn't for the kids, ask about their "cowcahol". Another thing I learned was that some of the byproduct from making cheese can be used to create a darn good vodka. Never ones to waste anything, the TMK crew has teamed up with some distillers and make what they've labelled as cowcahol. It's available at various times, but will certainly be the main feature at their celebration of National Vodka Day every October 3.
The next time you're looking for some adventure, pack up the car, bring the kids, or don't if you're coming for the vodka, bring your camera and bring an appetite, because all will be happy with the visit to TMK Farms.