Jean-François et Muriel Berruex

Jean-François et Muriel Berruex, farmers and cheese-maker

So, Jean-François, you didn’t become a policeman or a postman ?

I perhaps could have done, but thanks to the construction of the Col de la Croix in 1970, the farm at Rachy became accessible throughout the year. That was what decided me to take up the country life, which was my family tradition. With a sense of freedom which you don’t get in other « superior » professions, and with a communion with the nature which surrounds us, we benefit from an exceptional lifestyle, even though administration has become a large part of the job. When your cattle receive top marks and when your milk is top quality, a farmer’s life is enormously satisfying and provides ample reward for the work, which can sometimes be thankless and demanding but is always gratifying.

On the other hand, the contribution of tourism both in summer and winter is very important. For many years I was able work on the ski systems, two minutes away from the house ; and now, the little Rachy café and the one at La Marnèche up at Isenau in the summer make a significant contribution and what’s more allow us to meet lots of people. That’s something extremely positive for everyone.

And you, Muriel, what do you do up there ?

Even when very small I used to feel at home with animals. After I finished school I went to do an apprenticeship in cheese-making at La Broye near Payerne. The atmosphere there wasn’t what I was hoping for, but perhaps that motivated me to succeed. Afterwards I did an apprenticeship in agriculture with a farmer who used to take his milk to the fromagerie. I was very happy at this farm, where there were many more cattle than crops. Then I took a course at the agricultural school at Grange-Verney, near Moudon, and now I work with the family. I miss not being able to make cheese when we go up to La Marnèche in the summer, because of lack of equipment : the milk has to be transported to the chalet at Rachy.

It’s true that, for a young woman like me, it’s a bit restricting to have to be on the farm all the time, but I like to be outdoors and in contact with the animals on the farm.

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Translation : Gordon Douglas