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Come out to inaugural Wool Festival in Valley Ford

  • 3/23/2014: E1:

    PC: Ariana Strozzi is a co-owner of Valley Ford Mercantile and Wool Mill. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

You've heard of "farm to table." But what about "farm to home," providing locally grown wool bedding and mattresses, dryer balls and comforters?

That movement is on the rise in the hills of Valley Ford, where Ariana Strozzi and Casey Mazzucchi opened the Valley Ford Mercantile and Wool Mill last spring to showcase their wool products.

"We're really in the heart of sheep country out here," said Strozzi, who raises 150 sheep at Skyhorse Ranch in Valley Ford. "We're trying to bring wool back."

Valley Ford Mercantile and Wool Mill

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To celebrate wool's resurgence and promote its healthy benefits, Strozzi and Mazzucchi are hosting the first annual Wool Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18, at the store, 14390 Highway 1.

The festival celebrates all things wild and woolly during the spring, which is haircut season for sheep.

There will be sheep shearing, spinning and weaving demonstrations and needle-felting workshops, plus live music, food and drink from local folks such as the Green Grocer and Gypsy Cheese.

"We have about 20 artisan vendors, including fiber artists and jewelers," Strozzi said. "We're celebrating not only wool, but everything that's local here."

During the festival, you can take a tour of the wool mill, which includes a carding machine from Ohio and needle loom from South Carolina.

"The needle loom is the only one west of the Rockies," Strozzi said. "It can make felted fabrics ... yoga mats and meditation cushions, rugs and blankets."

Strozzi recently bought spinning equipment for making her own yarn and plans to add local bread, cheese and veggies to the store as well.


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