On a sunny day in July, deep in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the temperature tops 100ºF — yet thousands of goats are grazing happily on the open plain. You’d think otherwise given the unbearable heat, but then again, the capital is named Hohhot. Even worse, the winters are long, cold and dry, with temps often plummeting to 40ºF below; factor in the wind chill and frequent blizzards and by contrast, New England’s forecast begins to look like San Diego’s.
What good could possibly come from such extreme weather variations? Only the most sought-after cashmere in the world.
Once a year, these hardy cashmere goats evolve a protective, downy undercoat that keeps them cool in the summer and cozy all winter. By mid-spring, they’re ready to be combed (we can just hear their sighs now). Manual combing is the better method; it’s completely harmless and yields long, pure fibers that reduce pilling (shearing shortens the fibers and contains more of the coarse guard hair). The result is 8–15 ounces of raw cashmere per goat ready to be sorted, de-haired, washed, and eventually spun into soft, pure Garnet Hill cashmere. Depending on the weight of the sweater, it can take a year’s worth of fleece to make just one of our 2-ply cashmere sweaters. For this reason, it deserves special care.
More than half the herd would perish annually until local families of herders began caring for this special cashmere breed. Garnet Hill is honored to support their tradition since 2005.
Happy goats. It’s just one more reason to be delighted with Garnet Hill cashmere.