Uradale Farm grows lamb, beef and wool from our native sheep and cattle. Converting to Organic production in 2001 led to us taking a fresh view of what we do. We cast our eyes to the past for answers to some of today’s questions. Uradale now specialises in only Shetland breeds and their special assets. Uradale Yarn was the logical next step for our Organic Native Shetland wool.
With our like-minded friends of ShetlandOrganics CIC we began to find ways of bringing our very old product to new customers. By working cooperatively we gained the knowledge and experience of wool processing, not an easy exercise when so much has been lost.
Native Shetland Organic wool was described in 2007 (in EC Regulation no. 510/2006) as being worthy of a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO). The EU protected food name scheme covers regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. To get a product protected under PDO, it must be produced, processed and prepared in one area and have distinct characteristics from this area.
Our yarns come only from Native Shetland sheep and all aspects of livestock management are carried out under certification by the Scottish Organic Producers Association. This is the highest level of accreditation available in Shetland for animal welfare and health. Every business is inspected annually before renewal of its Organic certificate.
Shetland is unique in operating the island-wide 'Shetland Animal Health Scheme', which has eliminated diseases endemic on mainland UK by insisting on veterinary surveillance of all imports alongside regular blood testing of stock.
Our sheep are bred moorit, grey, black and white. Although most island sheep nowadays are white, the traditional strains were mostly moorit and grey. Uradale Organic knitting yarns reflect the colours of our flock. These natural fleece colours remain unbleached and undyed through the Organic scouring process. Just like good wines every season comes with its own qualities; our yarns display these subtle annual variations. Chemicals are not allowed to dominate the wool. Indeed the wool speaks for itself without artificial enhancement.
All ‘non-sheepy’ colours are Organically dyed to reflect the flowers and mosses of Uradale Farm. Occasionally a new range of shades are produced to add to this palette.
Our Organic spinner supplies jumper weight, double knit, aran and chunky yarns. Alan Barraclough of New Lanark is a gentleman artisan of the old school. His early experience working with Shetland wool has made it possible to recreate the yarn of yesteryear. His skills help reveal the life in the fibre that is so appreciated by wool lovers.