Sunbow Farm

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

6 thoughts on “Sunbow Farm

  1. Do these sheep get dipped in toxic chemicals?

    1. Certainly not!

      As we say in our Wool Batting product: The wool is not treated with any bleaches or acid baths; the vegetable matter is not carbonized. The wool is not superwashed. The only substance used in its processing is a surfactant, which breaks the surface tension of the water, allowing the oily lanolin to float away in the washing water. After the surfactant, a machine called a picker, picks or opens the wool, loosening the fibers so that the chaff, grass, and hay falls out. Then the wool fibers are aligned in the same direction as each other in the carding machine, which layers the fibers on top of each other in the different weights of batts, 3lb or 4lb.

      There is more information about our choice of Farm Wool in our Farm Wool vs. Organic Wool.

  2. Is the surfactant used in removing the lanolin toxic? There is a lot of conflicting information about soaps and detergents as one site will say it is non-toxic, and another site will say it is a hidden or potentially hidden toxin.

    I would like to know so I can be sure of what I am buying as things used on fabric you breathe it in everyday.

    Thanks.

  3. The surfactant used on the wool to remove the lanolin is a product the bottle declares is like a strong dish soap that is low sudsing, leaving an effective product without the chemicals needed for bubbles. The hot water is relied on even more than the soap to remove the lanolin as it can melt it right off. In the years and years that the mill has used this product on the wool, there has been no records of rashes or any irritation to the surfactant. Our wool will not itch because of it; usually that itch is caused by the chemicals used to strip the wool of its barbs to make it washable, also known as superwashed wool.

  4. Can you share your knowledge on the nature of wool? How can wool fiber repell water after lanolin has been removed? And is there any concern about mold build up in wool? I remember seeing those dress suits made from 100% wool getting moldy in my parents closet when I was a kid, but of course I am sure those dress suits weren’t made with chemical free wool. I am just wondering if there would be any concern about the wool getting moldy when they got stuffed inside a mattress unseen.

    1. Great question. The structure of the wool, rather than the lanolin is what prohibits the wool fiber from collecting moisture. Since wool is a hollow fiber, it wants to “breathe”. Hollow means that wool not great at retaining heat or moisture, it wants to allow air to flow freely through it. However, its structure can be defeated if it is combined with a synthetic fiber, such as a plastic bed protector or if it is not given space to breathe, such as if it is on a flat supporting system like the floor or a piece of plywood. As long as the wool mattress is on slats and is without any synthetic fabric comprising it, I have never heard of molding wool mattresses.
      I wonder if the wool suits you remember as a child had a silk or synthetic fabric lining? Either fabric (silk being an insulator) would prohibit the wool from breathing and could keep moisture from escaping. I’m also guessing the fabric was dyed and that dye may have compromised the fiber.

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