The 9th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival
Oregon-inspired culinary events, including a farmer's market-style artisan food and wine festival will kick off with the Meet the Cheesemakers and Winemakers Dinner at the Oregon Cheese Festival during the third weekend in March 2013.
At the festival on Saturday March 16, thousands of visitors will sample cow, sheep and goat cheese from Oregon creameries, including Juniper Grove Farm, Pholia Farm, La Mariposa Creamery, Mama Terra Microcreamery, Ochoa Creamery, Tumalo Farms, Tillamook County Creamery, Willamette Valley Cheese Co., Fern's Edge Goat Dairy, River's Edge Chevre, Briar Rose Creamery, Oak Leaf Creamery, Portland Creamery, Rogue Creamery and many others.
Held under two large tents at Rogue Creamery's Central Point facility, the ninth annual festival will invite guests to shake hands with cheesemakers and other artians. Children's activies are scheduled including games, worksheets and limited giveaways.
"The farmer's market format will present an interactive experience between cheesemakers and visitors, giving everyone an opportunity to talk about the product, the process and learn each individual cheesemaker's story," says David Gremmels, owner with Cary Bryant of Rogue Creamery. "It's a way to truly be connected with the source of the cheese being presented."
Southern Oregon and other local culinary artisans and beverage providers who are expected to participate include Lillie Belle Farms, Rogue BBQ, Gary West Meats, Applegate Valley Artisan Breads, Butte Creek Mill, Cupcake Daily, Marshmallow Heaven, Slagle Creek Vineyards, Rosella's Vineyard, Quady North, Longsword Vineyard, Ledger David Cellars, South Stage Cellers, Spangler Vineyards, Serra Vineyards, Caprice Vineyards, Pryenees Vineyard and Cellars, Willamette Valey Vineyards, Crater Lake Cellars, Hot Lips Soda, Clear Creek Distillery, Standing Stone Brewing Company, Oakshire Brewing and Rogue Ales. Samples and/or sales will be offered at each booth.
To commence the festival, a sumptuous meal introducing guests to participating artisans will be held at the historic Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland Friday night, March 15 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The dinner is held for the benefit of the non-profit 501(c)(6) Oregon Cheesemaker Guild (limited seating available). Each course will spotlight a cheese made by one of the festival's artisans paired with a local wine.
"The event will give the public a chance to have an intimate conversation with the experts at an elegant dinner at the Ashland Springs prepared by their excellent culinary team," says Gremmels. "On Friday afternoon, cheesemakers will collaborate to create the most fabulous cheese plate imaginable. The phenomenal result will greet guests at the evening's commencement dinner."
The Oregon Cheese Festival will be open to the public Saturday, March 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Rogue Creamery, 311 North Front Street, Central Point, Oregon.
A $15 entry fee includes tastings and demonstrations; children under 12 years of age are admitted at no cost. A $5 wine tasting fee includes a commemorative wine glass with the Oregon Cheese Guild logo. Tickets to the dinner are $95 per person (seating is limited), and are available by calling 866-396-4704.