October 18, 2017 How is Wool Processed? From Sheep to Sheets: Stage 1 Thanks to the amazing Woolgatherer Carding Mill, located just down the road from us in Montague, California, we’re able to create some of the finest wool products in the world. Woolgatherer follows the wool through every stage, from the pastures to the finished product, to ensure that at every step of the way healthy and sustainable choices are being made for the sheep, the fiber and the planet. In this blog series, we’ll explore the details of this process to help you gain a better understanding of the evolution of the wool we use to make our organic bedding products. Starting with… Step One: Selecting Wool Growers Shepherd’s Dream and Woolgatherer have been working closely with our local domestic growers since 1999. Our Premium Eco Wool blend is a combination of 20 growers in the Pacific Northwest. Having a personal relationship with each of our wool-growers is mutually beneficial. Together we have developed an evolving set of guidelines: Proper grazing methods: Our growers rotate sheep to different pastures to allow vegetation to recover from grazing. These farms also don’t overstock their pastures. Predator-friendly: Predators play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Therefore, we encourage growers to use trained sheep guardian dogs rather than trapping, poisoning or shooting. Animal welfare and husbandry: Ethical practices are a must, and fortunately this is an area where we and our Eco Wool producers are in absolute agreement. Ideal climate and range conditions translates to healthy flocks. Chemical control: We oppose the use of herbicides and pesticides. Random spot-testing helps determine if wool has been in contact with harmful chemicals. In addition, together, we and the growers strongly oppose carbonizing (using strong acids to dissolve vegetable matter), chemical crimping, dipping (bathing sheep in a pesticide solution), bleaching, harmful shearing, mulesing (cutting patches of skin of sheep to discourage infection) and overgrazing. We’ve also recently added a 100% certified organic option to our products. This wool is produced in New Zealand. All growers in this program adhere to the strict GOTS guidelines. We invite you to learn more about Woolgatherer Carding Mill. Be sure to stay tuned for more blog posts about our wool processing method. Thanks for reading!