We are pleased to announce that malabrigo is the proud owner of a flock of Merino and Corriedale sheep, who live on a ranch near our headquarters in Montevideo. Taking this step has been very important to us. We strive for sustainability and quality in all aspects of our business, and now we are able to have a direct hand in wool production from the very first step, and to ensure the humane, high-quality care of our happy little sheep.
Our little flock does not cover our whole production, but it’s a great show case of how the sheep that provide us with their lovely wool are bred and treated. We will talk a lot more about our flock in coming posts!
Remember the ladies that visited the mill? They also went to visit our flock that live in this lovely ranch called La Serena.
La Serena is situated about 40 minutes from Punta del Este, Uruguay in an area called Piedras de Afilar. And there all the ladies went, with Tobias and Luciana keeping them company. It takes about an hour to get there from Montevideo.
What do you think was the first thing they did as they arrived? See the sheep, of course!
Agricultural engineer Ignacio Abella works at SUL, which is the Uruguayan Secretary of Wool, the organization that deals with everything sheep and wool here in Uruguay. Ignacio met us there at the ranch, to share his knowledge about sheep.
Uruguayan wool is a renewable fibre, naturally produced in our pasture-based environment. The most remarkable characteristics are good staple strength and length, low vegetable matter content and high washing yield. In the yards, we were able to touch and feel those magnificent fleeces.
We saw breeding ewes of Corriedale and Merino breeds. In a couple of months they are going to be shorn before lambing and they´ll probably cut a nice bright fleece of 4-5 kilos greasy. Corriedale produce what we call “mid-micron wool” (the pullover Ignacio is wearing is knit using Corriedale wool), while Merino produce nice fine wool, with a fibre diameter of 20 microns or even less.
We learnt about how, by looking at the sheep’s teeth, we can tell their age. The merino sheep we looked at had only 2 teeth, meaning they were born in spring of 2013.
We are committed to achieve the highest standards of sheep care so we provide them with the best environment in order to produce the best quality fibre. This summer and autumn have been a bit dry, and we are waiting for some rain in order to have good improved pastures.
It was rather amazing and fun to have Ignacio tell us about the difference in breeds and how we can tell the age of a sheep, while actually having the sheep there with us, and actually be able to experience what he was telling us.
By the time we had finished learning and petting the sheep, it was time for lunch. The people at La Serena had prepared for us a typical Uruguayan asado, different kinds of meet and chorizo (sausage) and also grilled vegetables. Everything was delicious! And as every good meal must be, it was all accompanied by very nice Uruguayan red and white wine 😉 Yes, we have amazing wine, as well as sheep! 😉
For dessert, Marta, a lovely lady who lives at La Serena, had prepared home-made flan with eggs from La Serena! It was beyond words! There was Dulce de Leche to have with it, of course, no dessert in Uruguay is complete without Dulce de leche, and also another very typical dessert called Arroz con Leche, which is similar to rice pudding.
After we finished eating it was time for a little walk around the ranch, where we got to walk among the sheep that were pasturing.
One of the sheep had got through the fence, the little rascal ! When Juan Pablo, the owner of La Serena, started to herd it back to the flock, the very clever sheep squeezed through the fence the same way it got out!
All in all we spent a lovely day in nature, learning and sharing. Thank you, ladies, for spending this lovely time with us! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did 🙂