For generations the Bissig family in Isenthal owned Musenalp until they sold it to Sepp Herger in 2013. Sepp had grown up on “Alpeli” which is just a 10 min. walk away. Together with his partner Andrea Gysin who we met during the winner’s trip 2017 on Alp Äbnistetten they move 40 cows, 20 goats and 10 pigs up to the Alp where they stay from beginning of June until mid September.
Musenalp consists of about 60 hectars (150 acres) of Alp meadows and stretches from an altitude of 4430 feet a.s.l. to 5800 feet and is located at the foot of the famous Uri Rothorn peak. Musenalp can only be accessed by foot, or with the little open cable car which is essentially the lifeline during transhumance. Whereas the Restaurant is still owned and operated by the Bissig family, the cable car belongs to Sepp Herger.
During the summer’s peak, when the animals graze on the highest meadows, they are milked under the open sky. The milk is then immediately transported by cable car to the dairy. The operation is simple, small and very traditional. Sepp and Andrea do all the work, although this year, they will get some partial help through the civil service. The Alpkäse is made over a wood fire which also provides the hot water. There’s only a little generator that produces electricity for the lights and the stirrer.
Laborintense is the work on the meadows. The grass is cut with the motormower, but then collected and transported by hand. Which is a tiring task on those steep slopes.
On “Älpeli” where Sepp grew up his parents still do transhumance in the third generation. They produce the goat milk cheeses. The milk of the 10 to 12 cows are sent to Musenalp where all the Alpkäse is made.
During the winter Sepp works as a cheesemaker, but he is also a very passionate goat breeder and has won several awards. On their little “hobby”-farm Andrea and Sepp tend to about 20 goats. And the two visit a lot of markets and sell their – excellent – cheeses. Even Rolf Beeler is a customer!