Lessons From Swiss Dairy Farmers in the Alps

My wife Jacque and I are blessed with two daughters, now 27 and 24.

Daughter No. 1 was the one who taught her dad how to do the whole Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram thing back in 2009 just before she left for college...to become a teacher (math). This week she and her husband are on their honeymoon in Switzerland. This afternoon (evening for her across the pond) Daughter No. 1 messaged me on Facebook some fascinating photos.

From the little village of Gimmelwald, high in the Alps.

If you are a faithful viewer of the Rick Steve's travel TV show on PBS you'll recognize Gimmelwald as the peaceful, beautiful Swiss village featured on his European Christmas show special from a number of years ago (https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/video/tv-show/pledge-spe/european-christmas-pledge-special). The scene of the Steves family and new Swiss friends tobogganing down the Alps into little Gimmelwald at twilight with torch lights and their freshly cut Christmas tree is unforgettable.

Being the daughter of Machinery Pete means her eyes are always out for tractors and farm machinery. Daughter No. 1 sent these pics from Gimmelwald today:


But it was Daughter No. 1's account from today of their stop at a little place in Gimmelwald selling the local Bernese Alpcheese that really got my attention:

"Several farmers do self service cheese sales. They just leave the cheese in a fridge labeled with prices. You can take what you want and leave your payment in a little tin next to the fridge."




"It was amazing."

This type of tale can certainly make us think of simpler times, days gone by. Generations gone by. So quaint. But really, if you think about it, shows what is possible. 

It is good to make your own niche.

I should know. Daughter No. 1 and 2's dad made a niche for himself starting almost 29 years ago. Compiling auction sale prices. How can that ever be a business? Didn't seem like it could back in 1989, but you just keep chipping away, day by day, keep your head on a swivel, pay attention, strive to offer what isn't available, in a unique friendly way.

Like the Alpine farmers in Gimmelwald with their Bernese Alpcheese.

Of course they have the advantage of a steady stream of tourists from all over the world flowing into their little mountain farming village. But love how they very simply tell their story. Nothing fancy. Leave your payment in the little tin next to the fridge.

As Daughter No. 1 said..."We were happy to support the Alpine farmers."

I think folks all over America and the world in their hearts stand ready to help local farmers. We just need to noodle on things and try and figure out new ways to reach and engage them.

Oh, one more pic Daughter No. 1  sent from Gimmelwald today....cow bells :-)



Lived most of my life on our family dairy…Coming to Thailand 22 years ago this month with a mission group we visited the North of Thailand that was about 100% farmers…Even small farmers there had the same problems…Too much supply and too low prices…Later met my wife who is a teacher, her cousin and his wife veterinarians…Her brother commerce ministry in agriculture commodity sales… Her nephew did a agriculture futures market TV show…That Ford tractor looks like it will soon be unloaded from a shipping container here in Thailand…Amazing thing the tens of thousands of thousand series Fords that end up here…Switzerland another place on my to visit bucket list