Face Rock Creamery’s distinctive flavor is the result of many environmental factors.
Terroir is used to describe the flavor of a particular land, area, and climate, unique to itself. Most of us associate terroir with wine, but it infuses all foods produced in a specific region.
Great cheese starts with great milk. And the best milk is produced by cows that live in a particular kind of climate. Bandon is located on the Southern Oregon Coast, in the “Banana Belt” of Oregon, which provides a warm and temperate climate all year round with plenty of sun and lots of rain. This is perfect weather for growing grass, and raising cows! Just inland from Bandon, about 15 miles east as the crow flies, is the lush and fertile Coquille River Valley. This valley has been supporting dairy herds for hundreds of years and has some of the richest dairy land in the country.
The Valley is defined by the meandering Coquille River, which moves slowly through the valley, depositing minerals and nutrients in the soil. The river gives the Valley its unique character. The dramatic Pacific ocean storms also play a part, pushing wind whipped up through salty waves inland that is then dropped as haze and rain onto the pastures grazed by dairy cows.
All this combines to define the Coquille terroir. According to our cheesemaker Brad Sinko, who has been making cheese in the area for decades, milk from the Coquille area has a unique taste, and is instantly distinguishable flavor, making it recognizable from all other dairy areas. This signature flavor comes through in any products made with this rich dairy, like Face Rock cheese!
Set yourself up with a side by side tasting with cheeses produced in different regions in the U.S. or even between different countries to see if you can taste the difference in terroir. We recommend using small-batch artisan cheese for this, since mass-produced cheese often uses homogenized milk.