By Travel Medford | 02/13/2020 | Dining, Things to Do, Wine


The Rogue Valley is an agricultural mecca — offering the best in pears, wine, chocolates, and of course, cheese. There are many notable businesses which created a thriving Southern Oregon, including the Rogue Creamery, which has been a staple of this luscious valley for over 80 years.

How It Began

Following in the tradition of previous agricultural leaders, Tom Vella opened a small creamery in Southern Oregon in the 1930s. However, Vella soon noticed there were few jobs available to help families survive the long winter months. Fortunately, the creamery immediately started growing and employing many people. Vella quickly had the support of local farmers, who supplied milk to the cheese factory. Even during the Great Depression, the Rogue Creamery was prosperous.

Additionally, the Creamery made significant contributions to the war effort during 1940-48. Due to a shortage in workers because of the draft, they also employed women at their manufacturing facilities. And during a four-year period, Rogue Creamery produced one million pounds of cheddar that was shipped to troops in other countries.

After World War II, Vella expanded the creamery’s offerings. They started producing blue cheese in 1954 and it was met with immediate accolades, including being the first blue cheese produced in caves west of the Missouri River.

The business was inherited by Tom's wife, Zolita, and his four children: Ignazio, Carmela, Moris and Zolita. The family was committed to preserving Vella's lifetime of work.

The Legacy Continues

Today, Rogue Creamery’s cheeses are sold worldwide and they’ve won numerous trophies and awards, including World's Best Blue Cheese at the 2003 World Cheese Awards in London  a first for a U.S. creamery.

But the accolades don’t stop there. Their Rogue River Blue Cheese was named best cheese in the world at the 2019 World Cheese Awards in Italy. 3,800 cheeses from around the globe were judged by technical experts, retailers, buyers and food writers before crowning a winner.

Rogue Creamery’s success is due to many factors. They use certified organic whole milk to make their original blue cheeses, which is sourced from their dairy located along the banks of the beautiful Rogue River, ensuring a taste of Southern Oregon in everything they make.

Additionally, the Creamery’s happy cows are bred to produce the perfect milk for cheesemaking – rich in protein and butterfat. Because the cows are pasture grazed for most of the year, their flavorful milk is ideal for producing delicious cheese. And if you visit their Facebook page, you might catch a video of these adorable bovines trotting through the fields.

A Place For All Things Cheese

Rogue Creamery’s success has also brought more attention to Southern Oregon — showing people from around the world that the Rogue Valley is an exceptional region for agritourism.

You can sample the Creamery’s cheeses, along with other artisan creations, at the Oregon Cheese Festival, March 14-15, 2020. The festival highlights cheese and everything that pairs with it. You can taste and purchase artisan cheese, specialty foods, beer, wine and cider from over 100 vendors.

Whether you’re a dairy aficionado or in search of the world’s best blue cheese, we have it all in Medford. Learn how to plan an agricultural vacation that’ll have your taste buds singing at

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