Obern Galm belongs to the Wallis canton – separated from its northern neighbor cantons by the massive alps and, southbound, bordering to Italy – and everything is a bit different there.
The Alp is owned by semi retired father Klemenz and son Raoul Wyssen, who participated in the inagural Adopt-an-Alp program. Obern Galm is currently the Alp with the highest elevation: During summer’s peak some of the animals will graze at over 8500 ft. altitude.
In 2016 the Wyssens hired Dutch cheese maker Christian Bakker. He spends the second summer on Obern Galm, partly joined by his wife Marielle and the two children. Lukas Zelger from the South Tirol in the Italian Alps is the herdsman.
Around the middle of June the crew slowly starts moving not only their herd but also a flexible milking station from the village of Agarn upwards. They will stay in two different chalets on two various altitudes for about three weeks each, before they finally settle on Alp Obern Galm, on 6,600 feet. The heighest level the milking station will be positioned is on an elevation of 7,500 feet.
From the Säss (house and barn) on Obern Galm the 90 dairy cows can wander off to heights of slightly over 8,000 feet, where grass and trees – and thus the feed – become sparse. The 30 Eringer cows that are brought along every summer rummage in a separate area of the Alp in order to keep the red and brown cows calm and stress free. The dairy on Obern Galm is more modern and efficient than most alpine production places.
Besides yogurt, butter and fresher cheeses, the makers at Alp Obern Galm offer an Alpkaese, a Raclette, and Alpkaese with alpine herbs, pepper corns or garlic in the paste. All the cheeses from up there are on the real aromatic, piquant side. They taste rich and full – and are true reflections of the lush surroundings.