This Missouri dairy farm considers everything that goes into their sheep as their sheep produce quality dairy products sold locally in supermarkets and through their creamery. You’ve heard of grass fed sheep, but have you heard of farmers who consider what dirt grows the grass that their sheep eat? Sheep that are well cared for have plenty of energy to grow nutritious milk and strong wool .
Dairy sheep often have perfect wool for bedding as their fibers are stable enough and have enough crimp in them to withstand the use a topper or comforter receives. Clothing wool is finer and smoother and would flatten out too easily inside a topper. Rug wool would be too coarse and not provide as smooth and light of bedding as desired. We’re glad to partner with Green Dirt Farm and support their quality care of their sheep.
Check out their story here on their website.
One farm our wool comes from is Harvest Haven Farm in Hager City, WI. You can see some pictures of it and the fleeces we picked up from them here. Jon and Sherry Johnson believe strongly in natural living and have raised their animals and six children accordingly.
The 11 sheep are pastured with access to the barn for the intemperate weather. The sheep are not coated nor sprayed for insects. Some farmers do coat their sheep (literally, the sheep have to wear coats) to keep every bit of debris out of the wool, but they prefer to let the sheep’s wool breathe and do its job for the animal as well as for us. The farm also has a luscious garden for their CSA, about 30 free range chickens, a cow named Quarter pounder (not a dairy cow, you can imagine), a llama, a few dogs and cats, and a few hogs.
Tangled Bank Farm in Wabasha, MN raises beef and sheep. Tom and Sue Hunter have been growing their beef herd for the last three years and their sheep for one year. They feed their animals grain-free diets, avoid all pesticides on their fields and even deliberately planted a variety of grass to create a field suitable to good nutrition.
As we were talking about our company’s choosing to trust farmers rather than an organic label, Tom point out that even the organic label needs trust. He raises his herds organically, no pesticides, no chemicals, only grass and hay and he could pay for the organic certification label. But since there is no one to hold you accountable to your labeling practices, you’re still taking the farmer’s word for it, label or not. It’s nice to work with people who take giving their word seriously.
I brought home about 75 lbs of wool from them, leaving behind one fleece for the beehive.
Their website describes their practices quite well and has some lovely pictures of their farm and the animals.
Together Farms in Mondovi, WI (15 minutes out of Eau Claire) has animals, lots of animals. They have sheep, pigs, cattle, turkeys, chickens and ducks. As I pulled up to the farm, I was greeted by the few animals brave enough to be out in the drizzle, a few dogs and roosters and a flock of ducks. The chicks and hogs were in the barn, the sheep hiding under a spread of trees and the cattle out grazing in their pastures.
Their sheep, which are Tunis and Leicaster Longwool sheep, were up a hill so a picture was difficult to get. The animals in the front are hair sheep, which don’t grow thick coats of wool. The sheep our wool is from is the bigger ones in the back of the flock.
Stephanie and Andy Schneider are very selective about their heritage breeds and raise their animals for meat. They also offer CSA shares of their animals or if you prefer they offer individual cuts of meat. Their website has complete information on the farmer’s markets they are at and their drop sites, including one in the Twin Cities. Stephanie also crafts her own super swine soap. W93 Norden Road, Mondovi, WI 54755
Sunbow Farm in Eau Claire, WI has 45 sheep, a whole lot of chickens and fields and fields and greenhouses of vegetables and herbs. While I was there, a few of the members owning CSA shares were earning their veggies by weeding those gardens. The sheep were contentedly hiding under a tree from the growing sun in one of their pastures. There are five fields they are rotated between, making them entirely grass fed sheep. The sheep are a mixed breed that is primarily Icelandic. The morning I came it had rained so their wool still drying in the sun, but they came eagerly to the fence to greet us. Two hundred lbs of wool later, my van was very full.
Kristina Beuning’s green thumb extends beyond vegetables to herbs as well. Her herbal line of salves, teas, extracts, soaps, oils, and bulk herbs is supplied with either herbs from her garden or foraged herbs on their land. All of their products are available at the farm by contacting them; the herbal products are also available in local shops around Eau Claire. Look for the SunBow symbol of a sun in a bow. Check them out on their website or at the farm W4620 Langdell Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54701