The Franches-Montagnes SA cheese dairy
Several cheese dairies have recently embarked on major projects: new buildings, extensions or renovations.
Since its opening in April 2019, the Franches-Montagnes SA dairy has been welcoming visitors who want to discover the different stages of the production of Gruyère AOP and Tête de Moine AOP. Through large glass windows, tourists, locals and schoolchildren alike find themselves at the heart of an ultra-modern production facility.
"When tourists walk around the region, they see the cows in the pastures. They are at the heart of our local culture. If they then visit the dairy, they will see for themselves the quality of our local products made from the milk of the 18 producers of Le Noirmont and Emibois."
Eglantine Gerber, head of tourism
Built in 1910, the former cheese dairy was located in the centre of Le Noirmont. Space was limited and access was difficult for milk producers. This meant that construction had to be carried out on the outskirts of the town. "Having an efficient working tool to produce quality products and to process all the milk brought in by our producers was important," recalls Jean-Philippe Brahier, project management manager. "The lack of space and sufficiently large installations meant that we had to deliver part of the milk to another dairy.”
When the MIBA cooperative took over the cheese dairy, early discussions focused solely on the construction of a new, larger dairy to increase cheese production. But quickly the idea came up to develop a tourist attraction alongside that would showcase the milk producers, cheesemakers and their products and contribute to the economic development of the region. Thus was born the desire to create a demonstration cheese dairy, directly linked to the canton and Jura Tourism.
The new site is in keeping with the classic look and feel of the Franches-Montagnes region. Cheese production has been increased and some 11,000 litres of milk are now being processed every day. The dairy company coordinates the organisation of all the producers.
The producers' milk is certified for Gruyère AOP and Tête de Moine AOP. Production is planned to respect the specifications of these two AOPs and their delivery rhythm, i.e. twice a day for Gruyère AOP and once for Tête de Moine AOP. "During the production phase for Gruyère AOP, our producers deliver in the evenings and mornings. The rest of the time, we devote ourselves to Tête de Moine AOP and the dairy's historical specialities, which only require daily delivery," says Joël Parent, production manager. Once it has finished its time in the new cellars in Le Noirmont, the Gruyère AOP continues maturing in Emmi's cellars in Kirchberg.
This ambitious project is sure to please visitors who get to see the work of the cheesemakers live and watch a film about the day-to-day life of the milk producers. Eglantine Gerber, head of tourism, is proud to promote the cheese dairy and its products: "When tourists walk around the region, they see the cows in the pastures. They are at the heart of our local culture. If they then visit the dairy, they will see for themselves the quality of our local products made from the milk of the 18 producers of Le Noirmont and Emibois."