Berglialp is located just north above the village of Elm in the Canton Glarus. At an altitude of 5300 ft. it covers an area of over 800 acres of Alp meadows. The Alp is private and in the ownership of the Marti family since 1903!
Around 130 mother cows and calves and a dozen milk cows spend their summer on Berglialp, and 1.5 tons of Glarner Alpkäse are produced every transhumance. Heinrich and his wife Ursi both are alternatively making cheese, depending on what tasks the day brings. They have 4 sons (19, 18, 15, and 10), since the two older ones are in an apprenticeship and the younger ones go to school the kids can only spend the weekends on the Alp.
Early June, weather permitting, they move their train to the Untersäss (lower hut). Around mid July they hike up to the Obersäss (upper hut) where they stay for about a month. They have dairy equipment in both huts, therefore no transportation of the milk is required. Which would be a drag anyway: Both locations can only be reached by foot!
During the week either Ursi or an employee stay down in the valley with the children. The staff on the Alp includes a farmhand who does the grass cutting, mending fences etc. as well as a herdsman who alone stays with the mother cows on the highest pastures of Berglialp during the peak of transhumance. And there is a female employee who tends to the vacation huts, restaurant and spa.
Yes, it’s not a typo. Berglialp is also an award winning spa and wellness center where you can spend your vacation and stay in one of three chalets. Years ago the family also brought around 70 pigs to the Alp which were fed with the whey. When the price for pork constantly decreased, the Marti-Kamer family decided to be innovative and go a modern way: The whey is now used for the spa. Imagine being pampered in a peaceful environment, fed with the healthy diet produced on the Alp. And, yeah, there’s champagne, too.