Hans and Colleen Wolfisbergs’ 80-acre Edelweiss Dairy sits along the Nooksack River that flows near the Canadian border in Northern Washington. The dairy’s Swiss appellation is an homage to Hans’ childhood, growing up on a small dairy in his home country of Switzerland.
Hans came to United States by way of Canada 12 years ago, knowing he eventually wanted to own his own dairy. On his way toward that dream, he spent time working on a Vancouver Island farm and traveling. During one of his ski trips to Whistler, B.C., Hans met his wife-to-be Colleen—on the slopes. After marrying, they lived in Switzerland for a short time, working on an organic farm.
Hans knew he wanted to farm in North America, so he and Colleen returned to the States and purchased property in Whatcom County in 1996. Since then, Colleen and Hans have kept themselves busy raising five boys, and taking care of their bustling 160-cow herd of Jerseys.
After a while, going organic was a natural progression for the Wolfisbergs. “I had been doing more and more shopping at the local food co-op, and conventional farming began to make less sense to me,” Colleen says. “We were both reaching a point of rethinking how we farm.”