Having children has taught us to care like never before. We look after our little ones and strive to live deliberately and consciously, aware that what we say and do matters -- not only to us but especially to our kids.
That's why we care so much about where our merino wool comes from. We purposefully sought out a partner in New Zealand that respects merino sheep and the environment as much as we do. Our kids' eyes are upon us, and so we must do right by them and us.
Our partner, ZQ Merino, is our exclusive merino wool fabric provider. They take pride in their care of the sheep, their ranch land, and way of life. And we take pride that Chasing Windmills is born in mountainous meadows like the one pictured above -- home to merino sheep treated humanely and with great care, home to rolling meadows with healthy ecosystems, home to generation after generation of ranchers, home to an adventurous spirit.
To read up on ZQ Merino and what makes them so unique, click here to visit their homepage. But fair warning...they'll make you fall even further in love with Mother Nature's dream fiber, merino wool. A few highlights:
Environmental Sustainability: ZQ Merino ranchers manage their diverse natural ecosystems to ensure that they farm in a sustainable manner. Each ZQ Merino ranch has developed a management strategy to ensure that any adverse effects on the environment are avoided, remedied, or mitigated -- including water quality, biodiversity, soil health and waste management.
Sheep Friendly: ZQ Merino sheep live exclusively on free-range, pasture-based, farming systems. These systems involve minimal human intervention, allowing sheep to display usual and natural patterns of behavior (like roaming and grazing about mountainous meadows). Ranchers balance their herds' nutritional needs, the seasonal climate, and their natural resources.
ZQ Merino ranchers also adhere to the five fundamentals of animal welfare:
· Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition;
· Provision of appropriate comfort and shelter;
· Prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment of injury, disease or infestation with parasites;
· Freedom from distress; and
· Ability to display normal patterns of behavior.
And rest assured, no ZQ merino sheep is ever mulesed. (What's that mean? ZQ Merino ranchers do not surgically remove a section of skin from a sheep's rear in order to reduce the risk of infestation by flies - called flystrike. Instead, a ZQ Merino rancher works to prevent flystrike through more humane ways. It's a labor of love, but it's the right thing to do.)
So where does our merino wool come from? Some day, our kids may ask us: where does Chasing Windmills' merino wool come from? At age 3, they know it comes from sheep and that's good enough. But, as they grow older, we want to share the full story with them -- a story that makes us proud.
We want to tell them that our really super soft merino wool comes from ranches that care for the environment and sheep as much as we do.