Welcome to FlorAlp Farms Inc.

About Us

Floralp Farms Inc.

A young and adventurous Hans Hachler came to Canada in 1971 and did relief work on various dairy farms throughout Ontario.  The land of opportunity and the Holstein cows fascinated him so much, that instead of returning to his native Switzerland after a year as planned, he started looking for his own farm.  After a while, he realized that even in Canada the opportunities are limited: a dairy farm with cows and quota proved to be out of his reach.  He continued his relief service which brought him to almost 100 different farms in Ontario and finally bought a cash crop farm near Mitchell, Ontario, in 1976. 

That same year, Pia Balmer took a leave of absence from her teaching job in Switzerland to learn English in Guelph, Ontario.  (Little did she know how permanent this life change would turn out to be!!)  Several young Swiss ex-pats made Guelph their home in the late 1970s and it was here where Hans and Pia first met.  In 1978, Hans and Pia were married in Switzerland and made their home on the same property that Hans bought near Mitchell.

The couple decided (somewhat reluctantly) to enter the pig business as a means to eliminate the need for off farm income.  They started out with a handful of sows, selling their young.  Gradually they moved to a farrow-to-finish operation where they kept their pigs until they reached market weight.  Over the years, they upgraded their operation with additional farmland, increased the size of their swine herd, and incorporated the farming enterprise under the name of Floralp Farms Inc.

In keeping with his adventurous and innovative nature, Hans never shied away from change and was quick to embrace new ideas. When Pia returned from grocery shopping one day with Olive and Sunflower oils that were imported from Europe, Hans wondered – could these oils not be produced locally, right here in Ontario?  To find out, he planted a field of sunflowers and bought an expeller press from Germany. The resulting oil turned out to be very tasty and high in unsaturated fats.

As the organic movement gained momentum during the early part of this decade, Hans and Pia saw an opportunity for their business that would enable them to shift to more sustainable and healthy production practices while meeting the needs of their customers.  In 2001, the transition to organic cropping practices was started one field at a time.  The learning curve was steep and results were mixed.  With fields overgrown by weeds, Hans often wondered if organic crop production was really worthwhile.  Through trial and error however, Hans was able to make improvements to his equipment and to his cropping practices which helped to achieve cleaner fields and more consistent yields.

As organic crop production became increasingly satisfying, the Hachler family figured that the next logical step for their operation would be to convert their conventional pork production to organic.  Taking place in 2007, this transition represented a significant leap of faith for the family.  Major renovations to the barns (at significant cost) were needed to accommodate the pigs in a manner that is consistent with organic practices.  The increased workload associated with organic production has been met with the help of two sons, Sam and Phil.  Sam and Phil not only work full-time on the farm, but are also part of the decision-making and are looking forward to carrying on what their parents have started.

The Hachler Family

Hans and Pia

Hans and Pia met in Guelph in 1976.  As the founders of Floralp Farms, they still live on the homestead.  They are proud of what they have accomplished and look forward to passing the operation on to the next generation.

Kevin and Andrea Hachler

Born in 1979, Kevin lives with his wife Andrea and two small children (Jillian born in 2006 and Leah born in 2008) in the nearby town of Stratford.  Kevin works as a grain trader in London and enjoys helping out on the farm when needed.  Andrea works as a land use planner for the County of Oxford.


Sam Hachler

Born in 1980, Sam worked as a licensed farm mechanic before returning to Floralp Farms full time in 2005.  Meticulous, organized and motivated, Sam provides the necessary spark to move forward and to get things done.  Sam has come to enjoy working in the barn and has immersed himself head-first into the business of farming. 

Phil Hachler and Jess Williamson

Ever since his arrival in 1982, Phil has shown a strong love for anything with a motor.  As a licensed truck and coach mechanic, Phil can drive and fix everything.  He returned to the farm full-time in 2007 and is taking on increasing levels of responsibility, not only with respect to the farm, but also in his own family life.  He and fiancé Jess Williamson are expecting their first child in September of 2009.

Erica Hachler and Ferran Perez

As their only daughter, Erica blessed Hans and Pia with her birth in 1984.  While studying English at the University of Guelph, Erica took advantage of an exchange program and studied for a year in Germany.  While there, she met her current fiancé, Ferran  from Spain.  The couple moved to Canada for a year to allow Erica to attend teacher’s college at the University of Western Ontario.  Despite being raised in a suburb of Barcelona, Ferran has come to enjoy farm life in Canada and loves to help his brother in-laws during the busy planting and harvesting seasons.  Ferran and Erica will be married in Stratford this July.

Peter Hachler

Peter, the youngest Hachler, was born in 1988.  From a young age, Peter showed a strong affiliation for reading and history.  He now attends the University of Guelph where he studies history.  While at school, Peter is honing his business sense by managing a rental property that he owns.  When Peter is not busy with school work, he is a valuable source of help around the farm.