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Our farm-based business, Fibrillaria is nestled in the Hungarian Great Plains in the southeastern corner of the country, on the five hectare organic farm we named Echo Tanya. Tanya in Hungarian refers to an isolated small farm, a lifestyle tradition that we are helping to keep alive while encouraging others to do the same.

The two of us, Cheryl and Roland, a married couple in our early thirties purchased this farm three and a half years ago as a place where we could carry out our dreams of owning a flock of Hungarian Racka (pronounced something like: ratzka as in baa, the sound the sheep makes), a special sheep breed hardly known outside of Hungary. These dark faced sheep with noble bone structure and V-shaped twisted horns are an ancient breed that is very resilient in the windswept flatlands and in the high summer heat with frequent droughts. The breed consists of two main color varieties, the black and the white. With age the black Racka’s fleece has the tendency to turn more gray and through crossbreeding within the breed, more color variations are possible. As it also happens with our Hungarian Puli (pullee) shepherd dogs, the ends of the hair tufts become reddish-brown in the summer sun.

The fleece is perhaps like none you have ever seen or touched. We have had fleeces with locks up to 14” (35 cm)! However the staple length is usually around 9” (23 cm). The black is slightly finer and somewhat shorter than the white hair. They are both characterized by having subtle waves rather than curls and a luster due to its micron count of 30-40. The length of the fibers gives it a tremendous strength and combines well with plant fibers of similar properties (hemp, flax, nettle).

Do not be alarmed by the coarseness of the wool because that is in fact what sets it apart from the rest! Traditionally it was used for embroidery and felt, but in modern times we find that this longwool has a wide range of uses. From weaving of bags, purses, upholstery, curtains and carpets to felted rugs, footwear, seating, swings and lampshades, the possibilities are virtually endless.

All of the wool that we process at Echo Tanya comes from local farmers and every step of the way is done completely by hand: washing with 100% biodegradable soap, picking, carding, spinning, weaving and felting without a watt of electricity. While we enjoy processing all of this wool, in order to become a complete farm, we do wish to purchase our own flock of black Racka in 2010. Our 3.5 ha pasture was established in fall of 2008 and is already lush and green, ready for a flock of maximum ten sheep to come and graze.

With the purchase of this share you will contribute to about half the price of an adult ewe or the full price of a yearling, as we are looking for both. We will make a responsible purchase by only buying purebred Racka with desirable features and will make sure that they are of organic origin. They will be guarded by our two Pulis, Pinta and Ellák, and within a mobile electric fence that is solar powered. We produce our own hay and have our organic oats grown here on the property.

In exchange for your generous support you will receive 600 grams (21 oz.) of single ply yarn in a natural color blend of your choice (white, black or shades of gray). Please take a look at our handspun yarns to find what is sympathetic to you as far as color and thickness; the share can also include art yarn. The yarns will be handspun into 150 g skeins and shipped within three weeks from the date we receive your payment. We ship Priority Mail which takes 10 days to the United States, two weeks to Canada and within a week to any European Union country.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please convo us and check out our farm at www.echotanya.hu.

As a bonus it would be our pleasure to surprise you with some traditional Hungarian recipes from soup and main course to dessert.

Hungarian Racka Handspun Yarn CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) - 2010 Share