This weekend, March 16-17th the Rogue Creamery in Central Point, OR (just north of Ashland) will host our states largest cheese event, the 15th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival. Try cheeses from 17 or more local creameries, plus tons of other local artisan vendors in an outdoor, tented, market-style event. And yes, there will be BEER, wine, cider and an early release of cheesemonger Steve Jones new cheese pairings book.
Over the years the Oregon Cheese Festival has grown into one of the largest cheese-themed festivals in the country – drawing artisan cheesemakers, vintners, brewers, and specialty food producers to showcase their products to an ever-growing crowd of cheese enthusiasts.
This year’s event will take place March 16th and 17th in an expanded location, spanning north from the traditional venue at Rogue Creamery to the newly refurbished CraterWorks MakerSpace on Front Street in Central Point, OR.
THE OREGON CHEESE FESTIVAL
Saturday, March 16 from 11:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M
Sunday, March 17 from 11:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
At the Festival, thousands of visitors will gather to sample artisan cheeses from across the state and beyond, including: Beehive Cheese Company, Briar Rose Creamery, By George Farm, Cascadia Creamery, Cypress Grove, Face Rock Creamery, Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy, Helvetia Creamery, Oak Leaf Creamery, Ochoa’s Queseria (Don Froylan Mexican Cheese), Pedrozo Dairy, Portland Creamery, Rogue Creamery, Spring Brook Farm Cheese, Tillamook, Umapine Creamery, and Willamette Valley Cheese Co.
Alongside these cheeses, festivalgoers will sample specialty foods such as charcuterie, jams and jellies, olive oil, honey, chocolate, breads and crackers, pickled vegetables, nuts, and more. To wash it all down, more than 30 craft wine, beer, cider, and spirits producers will be pouring libations for the crowd. In total there will be more than 100 Oregon and other Northwest culinary artisans & beverage providers.
For a full list of vendors, visit www.oregoncheesefestival.com.
New in 2019, attendees will have the added advantage of complimentary parking at Crater High School, just one block north of the Festival. An FFA-sponsored student fair featuring students and the animals they have raised, along with a student-led plant sale, will also take place adjacent to the parking area during Festival hours.
Tickets purchased in advance are $15 and include tastings and demonstrations; day-of ticket purchases are $20. Tickets are available for sale at www.oregonchesefestival.com, along with an optional $10 adult beverage tasting add on that includes a commemorative tasting glass. Kids 12 and under taste for free. Early VIP entry (10:30am) is an additional $15 and includes a goodie bag.
Friday, March 15 from 6:00 – 9:00 P.M.
To kick off the festival, guests have the opportunity to join cheesemakers for a deluxe evening celebrating Oregon cheese. The Cheesemaker Dinner will be held at Lark’s Restaurant at the Inn at the Commons in Medford, OR on Friday March 15th. All proceeds benefit the Oregon Cheese Guild, a nonprofit that organizes the Oregon Cheese Festival and supports cheesemakers across the state.
The evening will commence with an appetizer hour and cheese reception, before featuring a fourcourse, cheese themed meal paired with regional craft beverages. Live music will be provided by the Danielle Kelly Jazz Project. Dinner tickets are $125, including drinks and gratuity, and are available at www.oregoncheesefestival.com.
ANNOUNCING SPECIAL GUEST STEVE JONES
Cheese legend Steve Jones will join the Festival as a speaker, mingling with guests and introducing the course pairings during the Cheesemaker Dinner, before leading two Master Classes over the weekend. Steve is the proprietor of two popular Portland-based eateries, The Cheese Bar and Chizu, which have been heralded among “The Best Cheese Shops in America” (Travel + Leisure) and featured in Portland Monthly, The Oregonian, Eater Portland, LA Times, Fodor’s, and on Food Network. Steve will be joined by Adam Lindsley, his co-author on their newest venture – Cheese Beer Wine Cider: A Field Guide to 75 Perfect Pairings. In this upcoming book, the authors share their knowledge of cheese and beverage pairings that bring out the best in both, providing a treasure trove of delectable, often surprising suggestions, as well as simple steps for successful experimentation. The Oregon Cheese Festival would not be possible without the generous support of the City of Central Point, Rogue Creamery, Tillamook, Face Rock Creamery, Wandering Aengus/Anthem Cider, Rogue Ales, 34 Degrees, Franz Bakery, Southern Oregon Magazine, Rosebud Media/Mail Tribune, and the members of the Oregon Cheese Guild.
For more information and pictures from past festivals, visit www.oregoncheesefestival.com