Every year Beni and Theresia Hollenstein leave the farm operation in the village of Brülisau sometime during the second week of June and move up to Alp Rainhütten, which they at first rented and in 2005 finally took over from Theresia’s father. Both the house and the production place were outdated, so 11 years ago the Hollensteins took a brave step, tore down the facility and had it completely rebuilt. Now they live in a simple yet pleasant house and work in a truly modern dairy.
Alp Rainhütten is located at 4,300 feet altitude, at the foot of the Staubernkette range, from where the animals can move upwards and have access to the rich Alp vegetation.
Two years ago the Hollensteins decided to bring only their goats to Rainhütten. Therefore they built a georgeous barn for them. “I just love goats”, Beni Hollenstein said when Caroline visited them in April 2017. The barn has white painted concrete walls and light-colored wood. 150 goats can comfortably lie down or walk and jump around. The cows on Rainhütten belong to other farmers. Beni uses the raw cow's milk to make Alpkäse.
This summer they will move 51 goats, 31 baby goats, 41 heifers, 8 pigs, and dog "Senta" to Rainhütten. “When you visit them the most striking thing is how the Hollensteins respect and take care of their animals”, says Caroline. “They make no difference between people and animals, it’s just fantastic.”
Beni Hollenstein, who will be joined by helper Martina Gisel for the fifth consecutive summer, makes the goat cheese like an Alpkäse, of raw milk. Its small format makes it edible after about a month. Then it is still mild and acidic. But over time it will become more “goaty”.