Besides cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses Adopt-an-Alp finally can add alpage cheeses made from sheep’s milk. Thanks to the Betschart-Imhof family who operates on Charetalp above Muotathal. Erich (36), the dad, is a true Älpler: He has spent summers on an Alp since he was… 2 weeks old! Together with wife Sandra he has three boys who are true helpers: Alex (born in 2011), Andi (2014) and Ronny (2016). Erich Betschart has an education as a farmer as well as a mechanic for agricultural machinery.
Outside transhumance Erich and Sandra operate a farm in Muotathal. Due to the fact that the 14 acres are on heavy slopes they decided to farm with goats and sheep.
Usually at the beginning of June the family moves with 50 goats and 20 milk sheep to Alp Bärensol in the valley of Bisisthal at an altitude of just short of 5000 ft. It takes a hike of 3 hours to get there. The first alpage cheeses are produced on Bärensol. A few young cattle graze there as well.
Around mid July they move up to over 6000 ft. to Charetalp which the family is leasing since 1985. There about a 1000 sheep for meat production, owned by Erichs dad, join the operation. The cheese production is moved up as well. Since there are no roads that lead to Charetalp, two Haflinger packing horses are used for transportation.
On the first signs of autumn, usually mid September, the train goes back to Bärensol until about the beginning of October.