Salem, OR – Bravo’s Top Chef Portland will air an episode this evening spotlighting one of this season’s Oregon-based sponsors, Tillamook. While the cheese company has projected an image of sustainability and commitment to Tillamook County family farms, the vast majority of its milk comes from industrial dairy facilities — not small farms. These facilities include 70,000-cow Threemile Canyon and formerly Lost Valley Farms, which was forced to close after hundreds of environmental violations and exploiting a loophole to be able to use hundreds of gallons of water in a drought-stressed area.
In response to the Top Chef episode, Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition Organizer Kristina Beggen released this statement:
“In airing an episode featuring the Tillamook County creamery, Top Chef participates in Tillamook’s greenwashing campaigns to present the company as a wholesome, hometown cheesemaker. Top Chef’s commitment to highlighting local, sustainable brands is right on target, but Tillamook is connected so deeply with mega-dairies that any claims of “sustainability” on its part are inherently false. The vast majority of Tillamook’s products are sourced from mega-dairies like Threemile Canyon and the disgraced Lost Valley Farms, emblems of a system that increases greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes Oregon’s air and water, threatens rural communities, and confines cows to a shortened, sedentary life. So when Top Chef trumpets its use of Tillamook products, it’s actually supporting one of the dirtiest legacies in Oregon.”