Oregon wine is mighty fine, but, increasingly, no one does cheese like the Beaver State, either. In recent years, Oregon’s specialty artisan cheeses have achieved international acclaim. Oregon’s Rogue River Blue, for instance, was named Best of Show in 2009 in the prestigious American Cheese Society’s annual artisan cheese competition, beating out more than 1,300 other entrants. Oregon cheeses took a jaw-dropping 22 prizes overall in the competition. Business for our cheese makers, even in a down economy, is booming.
What’s so special about the way we separate the curds from the whey? What’s different for manufacturers today as they approach the ages-old craft of cheese making? What do they know that you can benefit from in shopping for and/or making your own cheese? Lisbeth Goddik, an associate professor of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University and an extension dairy processing specialist, has helped the artisan cheese industry grow in Oregon through her cheese making classes and work in France studying with artisan cheese makers at two leading cheese schools.
She has grown OSU’s support efforts for the industry as the number of artisan cheese businesses has expanded from just a handful to 19 commercial operations over the past 10 years. The Oregon Dairy Industries, in fact, donated $25,000 to support her work in 2007, providing critical funding for cutting-edge equipment for classes at OSU, and Oregon dairy farmers and Tillamook Creamery have supported her research on milk quality, cheese, and whey. Join Goddik for a lively, interactive presentation on the modern science of cheese making and a discussion of what Oregon is doing so well that makes our cheeses stand out from the crowd.
Her Corvallis Science Pub presentation, “The Cheese Stands Alone: The Science behind Oregon’s Acclaimed Artisan Cheeses,” takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 12, at Old World Deli, 341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.