Located above the southern shore of the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) amidst the mighty Bernese Alps, Botchenalp is a small Alp that is operated by the Amacher family. Like at their winter home in the town of Brienz (where the name “Sbrinz” is derived from) the operation has changed to organic farming in 2018. Whereas the milk produced at their farm in Brienz is sold to the “PO Aare Milch”, during transhumance on Botchenalp they produce Berner Alpkäse AOP according to the requirements of Casalp (the association of Berner Alpkäse AOP).
At the same time, they produce a specialty called “Botchen-Chnubel” which in essence is a “Mutschli” in a very special and attractive form (see picture below).
As in most cases in Switzerland, transhumance on Botchenalp is a family operation: Alexander Amacher (born 1968) is a master carpenter and manages the operation. Ursula (1967), his wife, is a health care specialist that is deeply connected to nature, agriculture, and animals. Their son Ueli (1994) has a completed education as a carpenter and farmer, daughter Nadja (1996) has a BA in business and has started her studies as an agronomist.
The welfare of their animals is the key point of the Amachers’ philosophy. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that their operation in Brienz focusses on that: Once the “Alpsommer” is done, the animals spend their fall season on different meadows down in the valley. Their animal husbandry is according to the highest governmental and organic farming requirements. In the winter they have a huge open barn where they can roam outside if they want. They’re fed with hay and grass-silage, produced during transhumance in the summer.