Those who drive by the pastures of Neal Monson and his brother-in-law, Peter Imbier, might notice that their cows are a little different than most. The smaller, caramel-colored animals look nothing like the class black and white Holstein dairy cows so prevalent in the Northeast, but Brown Swiss is what Monson knows and appreciates. “I grew up with Swiss,” Monson says. “It’s the breed I know best.”
“We’re all about commitment and longevity,” Monson continues, “and Brown Swiss fit that model perfectly. We’ve got one Swiss that’s 15–years–old and still milking strong and calving every year.” There are trade-offs, of course: Brown Swiss don’t produce the same quantity of milk as their more common bovine cousins. But, as Monson is quick to point out, they compensate with high butterfat and protein, which can command a significant price premium.