Suzanne and Jean-Pierre Gfeller, a couple dedicated to their cows in order to produce high-quality milk
"People like to eat the cheese we make. Therefore, producing a high-quality Le Gruyère AOP is the main goal for all the milk producers in the chain!"
Jean-Pierre Gfeller, milk producer
1988 was an important year in the lives of Jean-Pierre Gfeller and his wife Suzanne. That year, they took over the family farm and they got married. Their versatility as a couple on the farm is their strength. "Suzanne is a farmer's daughter. We share all the tasks.” When Jean-Pierre Gfeller was in politics, as a member of the Grand Council, his wife took over all the tasks on short notice. Together, they farm the 38 hectares of agricultural land and have about fifty heads of cattle, including about twenty cows. The size of the farm allows them to know each animal in their herd well.
Jean-Pierre Gfeller is the president of the Duo-Vallon/Les Bayards cheese dairy. For the second time, in 2021, Neuchâtel authorities recognized the cheese produced at Les Bayards as the best Le Gruyère AOP in Neuchâtel.
Mr. Gfeller is very vigilant about the quality of his milk and pays close attention to his animals. He notes, however, that certain taste characteristics of the milk are clearly not controllable. "Among other things, we can control the quality of the milk itself, but we can hardly influence the floral aspect of our cows' diet, or the quality of our land.” The Gruyère AOP selected by the Neuchâtel authorities was produced in September. At that time of year, the majority of the cows of the nineteen producers working at the Duo-Vallon/Les Bayards cheese dairy are grazing in the fields or in the pastures. "It was perhaps this additional element that added that little taste... that extra subtlety!"
Since becoming president of the company 25 years ago, Jean-Pierre has always stressed the importance of maintaining know-how and guaranteeing quality milk, regardless of how it is produced or the size of the farm. According to him, communication is key. When there is a problem, you have to talk about it so that you can react as quickly as possible, while helping each other. "People like to eat the cheese we make. Therefore, producing a high-quality Le Gruyère AOP is the main goal for all the milk producers in the chain!"
For some time now, Mr. Gfeller has been thinking hard about the future of his farm, which is surrounded by 100 hectares of forest. He would like to hand it over soon, either to one of his three daughters or to another farmer. He would like to keep the size of the current structure. The size of his farm is both viable and beneficial for the future, not only from a professional point of view, but also in terms of quality of life and maintaining a positive ecological impact.