About Swiss Hills Ferments
James and Karen here. We are the faces behind Swiss Hills Ferments, and here is our story:
We don’t live on a farm, we don’t milk our own cows, and we have failed terribly at gardening (though for some reason we keep trying every year). But even though we don’t live on a farm (well not yet anyway), we have a deep desire to keep those traditional homesteading skills alive.
So we age our own cheeses, and we butcher and process animals (sometimes in our garage). We make salami and dry cured meats, and we brew beer, ferment veggies, make yogurt, and bake our own bread. We think these are important skills that a lot of us in the modern world are forgetting, and we want to help bring them back.
We’re still new to a lot of these skills. Only within the past few years have we started butchering and processing pigs and cows. Since then we’ve hunted. We’ve made sausages, bacon, salami, and hams. We’ve made cheese and yogurt and kefir. And of course, we’ve tried our hand at a few fermented beverages. All of these things were new to us. We learned with the help of friends, a handful of books, and the internet. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we figure that if we can learn these new skills, anyone can.
Bringing Back Traditions
We named Swiss Hills Ferments after James’ old family homestead in rural Wisconsin. The original homestead was named Swiss Hills Farm, after the Brown Swiss Cows that dotted the hilly landscape. Neither of us grew up on a farm, but both of our family roots run deep in farming. For us (as for many in this modern world), the traditions of the rural farmer have been lost through the generations. While cheesemaking used to be an integral part of every homestead with a cow, it is now an act most commonly relegated to factories.
We want to bring those traditions back: the traditions of homemade, slow food. Of making cheese with your children and brewing beer with your buddies. We want to savor our food again, knowing that it was made with care, and not for a mass-produced market.
Where did the Cave come from?
We are helping to bring back those traditions by creating a resource of free fermentation recipes and tutorials on this website. And most importantly, we are giving you the physical ability to ferment all types of foods by bringing you The Cave: a chamber designed to give you complete temperature and humidity control. With the Cave, you can age cheese or dry cure meat, or ferment any traditional food you desire.
The Cave came from our love of fermentation. We realized about two years ago how difficult it was to do some of these projects that require temperature and humidity control, and that’s when the idea for the Cave was born. Since then we’ve been working hard to start up our business, and we’re finally ready to unveil our pre-sales!
So come, join us! Pick up some wholesome, raw milk and try your hand at cheesemaking! Or start salting your venison bresaola. Make some memories. We’ve given you tutorials and recipes across the website to help get you started. Start some new traditions with us. And don’t forget, we’d love to see pictures of your finished masterpieces.
James & Karen Christian