By: Saratogian Environment news staff
Photo: Courtesy of Saratogian Environment
GREENWICH, N.Y. ~ The 25th annual Washington County Fiber Tour is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30.
This self-guided tour of 11 farms and a fiber mill is free and open to the public.
While wool from sheep is the best-known animal fiber, Washington County has a diversity of farms that raise everything from angora rabbits, cashmere and mohair-producing goats to alpacas and several breeds of sheep. Many fiber farmers exhibit their animals and products nationally, where they have won major awards at events like the Eastern States Exposition, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, the New England area North American Cashmere Goat Show, the Empire Alpaca Extravaganza, and the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.
Visitors will have a unique opportunity to learn from farmers throughout the county as they answer questions about their animals and the many uses fibers have.
A new addition to this year’s tour is Truthville Fiber Farm, which has been in operation for almost two years and raises Huacaya alpaca.
“While this is our first year on the tour, we’ve visited farms during the tour before, heard great things about it, and thought this would be a wonderful next step towards getting involved,” said farm owner James Joseph. “We’re looking forward to getting our name out there and hoping to help people understand more about natural fiber and what it can do for them.”
Battenkill Fibers Carding and Spinning Mill, in Greenwich, will be open all weekend for tours. Visitors can observe the manufacturing equipment and skilled labor needed to turn shorn fleeces into premium yarn for knitting or weaving.
Most farms on the tour also offer educational demonstrations and fun workshops throughout the weekend, showcasing a variety of fiber arts suitable for children and adults. Demonstrations include sheep shearing, sheepdog herding, felting, dyeing, spinning and finger puppets.
Children especially enjoy seeing newborn lambs, goat kids, alpaca crias, and other baby animals found on many of the farms.
For visitors who want to buy local, the on-farm shops, studios, and fiber mill store all offer quality products for sale. Fleeces, roving, and yarns, as well as many finished articles are available at most locations along the tour; and several farms have livestock for sale as well.
The Fiber Tour takes place rain or shine and visitors should dress for the weather.
For information, a brochure and map go to: www.washingtoncountyfibertour.org.
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