Natural Colored Wool
Sheep have grazed this farmland for the vast majority of the last 150 years. Even before Del Chaffin bought this land (See Farm History), prior to any irrigation development or homesites, it was being used to raise sheep. But in 2008 the farm found itself giving up these beloved small ruminants, not from any lack of consumer demand, but from difficulty in finding affordable butchering. The high processing costs led to razor thin profit margins on the meat. It was with great regret and dismay but the fact was that the sheep weren’t offsetting the cost and effort to produce them.
Carol Albrecht remembered seeing a breed of endangered heirloom sheep called Shetlands at a livestock show in 1990. Shetland Sheep are on the watchlist of the American Breeds Livestock Conservancy. Shetland sheep are known as a primitive breed and produce some of the finest artisanal wool in the world. They are hardy, adaptable, docile, and very small framed which is ideal for grazing under the canopy of our fruit trees. Thus, Joshua Farm Shetland Sheep was born, and has become a labor of love for the Albrecht family. The sheep are sheared annually and the wool sent to a local mill to be processed into premium quality yarn. With selective breeding we’re working growing the a quality flock of Shetlands that will help to preserve the breed for many generations. Shetlands were originally used in Scandinavian villages to provide the inhabitants with most if not all of their fiber needs producing everything from wedding shawls to ship’s sails. But they also fed the villagers with the superb, tender, fine textured meat. Over time, once we build the herd to its desired size, we may offer lamb cuts for sale. Yarn is available from the farm locally or by mail order. Please visit the Joshua Farms Shetland Sheep website to contact us. Live animals and whole fleeces are also available.
We produce many of colors of undyed yarn as well as naturally-colored felt fabric. Tremendous effort is taken to actually sort and separate the color markings out of each fleece to produce yarn with the utmost purity and brightest colors. Spinners, felters, crocheters, and knitters all speak of what a pleasure this yarn is to work with and this wools unparalleled quality. We sometimes also offer finished products like stylish crocheted hats.
For information on purchasing live sheep, fleeces, or yarn contact Carol Chaffin Albrecht via our Joshua Farm Shetland Sheep webpage.