CENTRAL POINT, Ore.– Hundreds flocked to Central Point this weekend for southern Oregon’s annual celebration of cheese. The Oregon Cheese Festival, in it’s 14th year, is designed for people to sample a variety of unique cheeses and wines from Oregon and the greater northwest. For cheese lovers, it was the perfect place to be.
Sunday may have been the last day of the festival but things were hardly slowing down as organizers described it as the most packed Sunday they’ve had in awhile.
“Every year this has been growing, definitely,” said Sarah Marcus, owner of Briar Rose Creamery. “We’ve seen significant increase in foot traffic and patronage but a lot of repeat customers are coming back and they’re bringing their friends.”
Briar Rose Creamery, located in the Willamette Valley, has been coming to this festival for eight years now, ever since they opened their doors, according to Marcus. For her, it’s a great way to engage with new customers and spread her passion for cheese.
“There’s a lot of umami in there so it keeps you wanting to eat more,” she said. “It goes well with everything. It’s satisfying. There’s protein, there’s calcium. It’s healthy.”
Other food such as wine, beer and artisan bakeries were served as well but for Marcus – there are only three staples she needs.
“Wine, bread and cheese is the sauce of life,” she said laughingly. “It’s keeps you going. I could definitely eat that, it’s a desert island food.”
Some even came as far as Klamath Falls in order to find their favorite cheeses.
“I like brie a lot,” said Fiona St. Clair, an attendee. “So when they have like brie and then the pear, a little sweet and salty. That’s my favorite.”
That salty and sweet is what’s hooked St. Clair who’s been to the festival twice now with her family. While she may be young, she has sage advice for those thinking about coming next year.
“I would eat cheese but it’d have to have pears on it cause sometime I need like something hydrating, you know what i mean,” she said with a grin. “Bring some water next time you’re here. Water’s a good tip.”