From mountains to Dairies

Kobarid, Planika Dairy

The Tolmin Museum has set up a permanent exhibition entitled “From Mountains to Dairies” in the Planika Dairy in Kobarid. The exhibition displays the heritage of mountain grazing in the Soča Valley, which lead to the establishment of the Planika Dairy in Kobarid. The exhibition is accompanied by a documentary on the traditional processing of milk into cheese and curd in the mountains of Tolmin and Kobarid, as well as on the production of dairy products by the Planika Dairy in Kobarid.

“Mountains are pastures high in the rocks, or just below them, where livestock are herded over the summer, and where cheese and curd are made.” (Tomaž Rutar, Zgodovinske drobtinice na Goriškem nabrane, 1853)

Archaeological discoveries from the Iron Age and Roman times are evidence of the importance of livestock farming in Tolmin. The earliest written references to the mountains date to the 12th and 13th centuries. The Tolmin land register from 1377 even mentions payment in cheese as part of the duties paid to the patriarch. Disputes regarding grazing rights, which are recorded in the archive resources up until the 20th century, are also indicative of the extreme importance of livestock farming for the Soča Valley economy.

In the Upper Soča Valley, two types of mountain grazing developed, subject mainly to geographical features. In Bovško, small ruminants were predominant, while the mountains of Kobarid and Tolmin were home to cattle. Natural conditions also dictated the selection of livestock and mountain structures. The sheep pens of Bovško were made of wood, sometimes in combination with stone, while the buildings of the Tolmin and Kobarid mountains were made solely of stone and covered with straw or, as Tomaž Rutar wrote 150 years ago, with “broken” boards.

The main mountain building is the dairyman’s hut, now known as the dairy farm. The first brick stables in the surrounding area were built in the 19th century; before that, animals were driven into corrals with no roof, the so called “medrje”. The dairyman’s hut or dairy farm was a place where milk was processed into curd and cheese. The parish priest Tomaž Rutar offered a vivid description of the dairyman’s hut (most probably on the Razor mountain) in 1853: “The dairyman’s hut is a low-rise building that has four walls, mostly dry, mortared in few places. The roof is covered with shingles or spruce boards. It has three areas or parts: the milking facility, the dwelling and the basement.” The record of the mountain was created twenty years before the arrival of the Swiss Tomaž Hitz, who came to Tolminsko to introduce a new dairy farming technology.

Another important period, which marked the development of the cheese dairy business in the Soča Valley, was the establishment of a dairy in Tolmin after the First World War. Under the guidance of Dr Matteo Marsan and teacher Ciril Šavli, the dairy was equipped with a laboratory and a classroom for dairy farmers. All dairy farmers who worked in the mountains and in village dairies were required to complete a one-month course. During this period, many mountains received a road connection with the valley; proper communication was a prerequisite for the further life and survival of the mountains – right through to the present.

Social changes following the Second World War had a major impact on the development of livestock farming. A cooperative economy forced farmers to deliver milk and enter into the cooperative. After the war, the dairy in Tolmin was taken over by the Economic Business Association. On October 11, 1952 the Local People’s Committee of Tolmin adopted the decision to establish the “Kobarid Dairy”. The Edinost construction company from Tolmin took on the construction. As part of the Economic Business Association in Tolmin, the Kobarid Dairy was entered in the cooperative register on August 26, 1957. The same year, a trial run operation began. They produced several types of cheese: Emmental, Gouda, Gruyere, Trappista, Edam and Tolminc. The dairy farm operated as a cheese factory until 1959, after which it expanded its programme.

In the following years, the dairy farm formed a business and technical alliance with the Josip Kraš company from Zagreb and focused primarily on the production of powdered milk. Over the years, the company faced many problems; after the bankruptcy of the Kraš Planika company in 1995, the Tolmin Agricultural Cooperative established the current Planika Dairy.

The Planika Dairy purchases and processes exclusively Slovenian milk, which is produced in the mountainous areas of the municipalities of Tolmin, Kobarid, Bovec, Kanal ob Soči, Nova Gorica and Cerkno. They use the purchased milk to produce products under the Planika trademark. Special attention is paid to fresh, pasteurized non-homogenised milk, since such milk has a specific full flavour, which is undoubtedly influenced by diet, the method of animal husbandry and the highland areas where the livestock graze in the summer months. In the winter, they are fed with quality feed. Due to the exceptional quality of the milk itself, they can produce high-quality products. In addition to cheeses, raw butter, fermented products, and fresh milk and curds, they also produce sweet albuminous curd. One of the most important products of the Planika Dairy is the Tolminc cheese, which has been produced in this area for centuries. It is made from non-homogenised milk using a traditional method, and is ripened on wooden shelves under controlled conditions. The dairy thus successfully continues the centuries-old tradition of processing milk into cheeses and other dairy products.

 

 

Author: Marko Grego
Archaeology-related text: Miha Mlinar
Design: Marko Grego

Contact:
Mlekarna Planika d.o.o. Kobarid,
Gregorčičeva ulica 32, 5222 Kobarid,

Phone: +386 (0)5 38 41 000,
E-mail: info@mlekarna-planika.si,
www.mlekarna-planika.si

 

Opening time
May - September
Monday - Saturday:
10 - 12 a.m. & 5 - 7 p.m.

October
Monday - Saturday: 10 - 12 a.m.

Other months
opened by prior arrangement

Groups
opened by prior arrangement

Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Entrance fee
adults: 2,50 €
children, students: 1,70 €
Facebook
Youtube
RSS