Sunset Bay Chevre from Rivers Edge Dairy

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple way to reduce your impact on the environment and support local businesses and communities while providing your family with the tastiest, freshest and most nutritious food available? Choosing locally grown and produced foods is an easy and powerful step towards sustainability. In the Willamette Valley this is easy to do, and we are surrounded by award-winning dairies and cheese-makers. If last month’s Earth Day celebrations have left you wanting to make some changes , one simple step towards sustainability you can make is to enjoy local cheeses!

Stephani and Cheese Case

When shopping for local cheese you may find these definitions helpful. Farmstead cheese is made at on-farm creameries. Farmstead cheese-makers use milk from their own herds to make their cheese. The milk goes straight from the cow (or goat or sheep) to the cheese-making process on sight! Artisan creameries make cheese by hand using traditional methods, high quality milk and careful aging.

Full Circle Creamery produces farmstead raw cheddars with organic milk from grass-fed cows at Noris Dairy in Crabtree, near Scio. The talented folks at Full Circle also have a line of cheddar and mozzarella curds and mozzarella made from milk from the Lochmead Dairy in Junction City. You’ll find almost the full line at LifeSource, including a new to the store “Diablo Cheddar” aged raw cheddar made with local hot sauce. The smoked raw cheddar is a fabulous snacking cheese and a wonderful choice for a party. We also carry four varieties of curds-don’t miss the garlic mozzarella curds!

Briar Rose Creamery is a small award winning goat creamery in Dundee. Their classic chèvre recently won a blue ribbon at the Good Food Awards. Briar Rose makes an amazing chocolate goat cheese truffle that you have to taste to appreciate. It is out of this world and makes a perfect gift!

Willamette Valley Cheese Company is a farmstead cheese producer near West Salem. The lucky Jersey cows at Willamette Valley dine on organic pasture and are milked on site at the production facility to bring you the tastiest, freshest cheese possible. Willamette Valley’s handmade cheeses include fontina, brie, gouda, jack and herbed varieties of havarti.

Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s herd of pasture raised cows
Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s herd of pasture raised cows

In Lowell Oregon the goats of Ferns’ Edge are busy producing the dairy’s popular raw milk, a staple for LifeSource customers. You can also enjoy a wide selection of Ferns’ Edge fresh chèvre and international award winning raw aged goat cheese- Mt.Zion. A staff favorite is the pesto chèvre.

In Albany Ochoa’s Queseria produces all natural traditional Mexican cheeses. You’ll find their Queso Botanero (an amazing fresh cheese with cilantro and jalapenos, Queso Fresco, Cotija, and Queso Oaxaca (similar to a fresh mozzarella, but more fun!) at LifeSource.

Since 2009 the goats at Fairview Farm in Dallas have been grazing on organic pasture and alfalfa (never corn, soy, or wheat!). The dairy meets the high standards of the Animal Welfare Institute because of their careful husbandry. Healthier animals make healthier products; try their chèvre or skyr, a traditional Scandinavian cheese that you’re unlikely to find anywhere but Iceland, Norway or Oregon.

The abundance of the Willamette Valley makes it easy to buy local. Come sample products from one of the many award-winning high-quality dairies our area has to offer!