We are passionate about our Vacherin Fribourgeois from Marsens in Switzerland. I was re-reading the words from Mr Marc-Henri Horner of Fromagerie de Marsens about milk recently and thought to share his piece of writing here as it gives valuable insight into the production of the milk they use for the making of Vacherin Fribourgeois. I have translated this using DeepL, which on the surface seems to have done a good job, however you can access the original French version on the website of Fromagerie de Marsens directly.
Our cheese dairy receives milk from fifteen producers who farm the land within a 3 km radius of the dairy. The farmers know the soil they work, often for generations. These farmers own and care for meadows of exceptional quality. The diversity of the flora of these natural meadows gives the milk an extraordinary richness. The raw material is perfect for processing into Vacherin fribourgeois AOC or Gruyères AOC, not to mention our other products, all of which are made by hand.
In addition to this work of maintaining the land, there is the very demanding task of monitoring the herd. Cattle breeding, mainly of the Holstein and Red-Holstein breeds, requires the farmer to be with his livestock every day. The cows are milked morning and evening. So there is a long way to go before the milk arrives. Milk; this nourishing material necessary to all newborn mammals, which man has known how to exploit to feed himself. He knew how to transform it and preserve it. The farmers who produce this milk are familiar with this difficult, complex and vulnerable material. The care given to the cows is essential, a cow in poor health will give a lower quality milk. Vigilance is therefore essential.
For some years now, the farming profession has been in constant evolution; farmers are under pressure from an economic environment that is often unfavourable to them. The number of active farms in Switzerland has decreased considerably. Small, traditional cheese dairies like ours make it possible to maintain traditional agriculture while ensuring a decent income for milk producers.
The labour force that used to be found on the farms has almost disappeared. Agricultural estates are expanding, facilities are being modernised, and the size of the machines is sometimes impressive. Of course, the infrastructure is changing, but this has no effect on the quality of the land, the grassland or the crops. All the farmers in the villages of Marsens and Vuippens work according to the strict standards of integrated production (IP). This practice consists of observing production rules that guarantee the quality of the products while being respectful of the environment. In Gruyère, and in Switzerland in general, we are involved in extensive agriculture, which guarantees quality for the consumer.
Mr Marc-Henri Horner