Paper pub. date
September 2013
ISBN 9780870717048 (paperback)
7 x 10, 208 pages. B&W photographs. Index.

Pacific Northwest Cheese

A History

Tami Parr

In this rich and engaging history, Tami Parr shows how regional cheesemaking found its way back to the farm. It’s a lively story that begins with the first fur traders in the Pacific Northwest and ends with modern-day small farmers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

For years, farmers in the Pacific Northwest made and sold cheese to support themselves, but over time the craft of cheesemaking became a profitable industry and production was consolidated into larger companies and cooperatives. Eventually, few individual cheesemakers were left in the region. In the late sixties and early seventies, influenced by the counterculture and back-to-the-land movements, the number of small farms and cheesemakers began to grow, initiating an artisan cheese renaissance that continues today.

Along with documenting the history of cheese in the region, Parr reveals some of the Pacific Northwest’s untold cheese stories: the fresh cheese made on the Oregon Trail, the region’s thriving blue cheese and regional swiss cheese makers, and the rise of goat’s milk and goat’s milk cheese (not the modern phenomenon many assume it to be).


About the author

Tami Parr is the author of Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest and the creator of the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project website ( Her writing has also appeared in The Oregonian, Northwest Palate, and Edible Portland. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Read more about this author

“Over many years, Tami Parr has made significant contributions to the success of American artisan cheese. Her new book clarifies the history of cheesemaking in the Pacific Northwest, explains the critical value of cheese as a basic food for early settlers, and documents vibrant artisan production in the region throughout the 20th century. Equally important, her analysis contributes to a deeper understanding of American cheese history.”
Jeff Roberts, author of Atlas of American Artisan Cheese


“As a farmstead cheese maker in the Pacific Northwest, I must admit that I rather mistakenly thought that cheese was invented right around the time that I started milking cows and making cheese. Pacific Northwest Cheese: A History has shown me how mistaken I was and has given me a new perspective on the origins of cheese in this region. I was especially intrigued by the recent history—that of the 1970s back-to-the-land movement. It is reassuring to see that many have come before me: striking out on a few acres with a small herd of cows and learning to produce fine cheeses.” —Kurt Timmermeister, author of Growing a Farmer


"Tami Parr might be considered the cheese whisperer of the Pacific Northwest ... Did you know there are abandoned cheese caves near Mt. Adams that date back to the 1940s? Do you know why Oregon's cheese production beat out Washington for years? Did you know 18th century sea explorers often traveled with goats onboard? All this and more in Parr's latest exploration of cheese culture." edibleSEATTLE, May/June 2014

"Parr takes this single topic of microhistory of a single region's specific food and spins it with such a sparkle that even the lactose intolerant will be hungry for more." -- Heather Arndt Anderson, Oregon Historical Quarterly

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