Beaver Classic™ Cheese: OSU’s Creamery Churns Once Again

It’s been 32 years since Oregon State University boasted a campus creamery. Now, thanks in part to a hefty $860,000 donation from former president of Portland’s Sunshine Dairy, Paul Arbuthnot, OSU students are once again crafting and selling their own cheese.

The new plant will focus on teaching, and hopes to serve as a “launching pad” for burgeoning businesses to gather experience and revenue before investing in their own facility.

“In dairy processing, there’s a lot to be said for hands-on practical training, especially for artisan cheese makers,” says Lisbeth Goddik, OSU food science professor.

OSU’s first cheese, Beaver Classic™, is made with milk from OSU’s dairy herd. It’s soft and creamy, with “a subtle, nutty flavor with buttery notes” and will be sold prior to all OSU home football games.

Are there antagonistic feelings between the Beavers and their rival to the north, Washington State, where Cougar Gold®, the signature cheese of the Cougars reigns supreme?  Not according to Goddick.  “We have only friendly competition.  The dairy people at WSU have been tremendously helpful and are assisting us frequently,” she says.  How did OSU get Marc Bates, the man in charge of Cougar Gold® for 29 years, to help OSU make cheese?  “We talked him out of retirement to have him help us get the start-up right,” Goddick asserts.  Collaboration at its finest!

OSU students turned in label suggestions for another new cheese, which product development says is also be a European-type, softer alpine-style cheese, staying away from semi-firm cheddar, the cash cow for Tillamook cheeses.  A quick campus survey revealed name choices such as “Dam Gouda,” “Beaver Curds”, and “Oregonzola.”

The cheese’s label and design are set to be revealed during a homecoming event on November 4, 2012.

By Lisa Tedder