In 1933, a small creamery opened its doors in Southern Oregon, creating jobs and supporting small farms in the Rogue River Valley in the midst of the Great Depression. That company, Rogue Creamery, has since become an iconic Oregon brand and international success. It has garnered dozens of prestigious awards and accolades, including the world’s top honor in cheesemaking: World Champion at the 2019/20 World Cheese Awards - a first for an American cheesemaker.
This year, Rogue Creamery celebrates 90 years of cheesemaking - honoring its traditional, handcrafted cheeses, its roots in Southern Oregon, and the independent, entrepreneurial spirit of the community that has fostered its growth over the past nine decades. The milestone will be honored with a weekend of festivities surrounding the Autumnal Equinox, September 22-24, 2023.
Community Celebration in Central Point
Rogue Creamery’s 90th Anniversary Celebration Weekend kicks off on Friday, September 22 with the Central Point Artisan Corridor Block Party, taking place from 12 to 5pm at Rogue Creamery’s historic Central Point Cheese Shop and neighboring businesses. This community-focused gathering will feature food and drink pairings provided by the four Central Point Artisan Corridor businesses - Rogue Creamery, Lillie Belle Chocolates, The Rogue Grape, and Coquette Bakery - as well as food trucks, live music, raffle prizes, and plenty of fun and surprises. Tickets will be available for purchase in July.
Harvest Dinner Celebration at Troon Vineyard
On the following night of Saturday, September 23, Rogue Creamery and Troon Vineyard will host a Harvest Dinner Celebration at Troon’s tasting room in the Applegate Valley. The seated, coursed dinner will celebrate the Autumnal Equinox and the release of the 2023 vintage of Rogue Creamery’s world-famous Rogue River Blue cheese. Through a decadent, Southern-Oregon-themed menu prepared by Chef Kristin Lyon of Jefferson Farm Kitchen, Rogue and Troon plan to commemorate the 2023 growing season and their shared commitment to organic and biodynamic agriculture. Limited tickets will be available for purchase in July.
Farm Tour Day and Family Fun at the Rogue Creamery Dairy
Rounding out the weekend, Rogue Creamery will be offering free tours of the dairy farm on Sunday, September 24, along with family-friendly activities, lawn games, ice cream, raffle prizes, and more. The Dairy Farm will be open to visitors from 10am to 5pm that day, with tours commencing on the hour, every hour. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the Rogue Creamery cows and learn more about Rogue’s industry-leading sustainability and organic farming practices.
More about Rogue Creamery’s History
This small, Southern Oregon based creamery began as the Rogue River Valley Cooperative in 1933 – a resource to support local dairy farmers during the Great Depression. Legendary cheesemaker Tom Vella transformed the small cooperative into a thriving cheese factory. Following World War II, he traveled to Roquefort, France to learn the art and tradition of cave-aged blue cheese making from the masters. In the 1950’s, Vella was among the first cheesemakers to introduce a USA-made, cave-aged blue cheese west of the Mississippi. His son Ig Vella, “The Godfather of Artisan Cheese,” took over the family business in 1998, and led Rogue Creamery until current owner David Gremmels purchased the business in 2002.
In 2013, Rogue Creamery became Oregon’s first B Corporation, exhibiting the highest commitment to service and sustainability. In 2019, Rogue Creamery became the first American cheesemaker to win World Champion at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy with its Rogue River Blue cheese; this same cheese was featured on the menu at the White House State Dinner in December 2022.