Silkworms come in many varieties. Here, we specialise in the Bombyx Mori Silkworm, fed on the White Mulberry to generate the best quality silk. The farming of silkworms is known as Sericulture.
As our farming progresses, we will provide you with information on the process, with photographs and details of how the silk will be used to create sensational products for your delight.
The month of May is an excellent time for us to begin a season of silkworm farming here at Ferme du Berry. The reason is simple – our White Mulberry trees have now had a couple of months to develop a good flow of leaves for feeding the silkworm on good fresh food straight from the tree, benefitting from the nutrients at their best, so helping them to create the finest smoothest silk. At other times of year, silkworm can still be bred and fed, however this is on a dehydrated leave feed which produces a more raw, less refined thread with a more matt appearance. This too has good value, and produces silk garments of interesting textures and natural patterns.
When we moved to France, we brought along with us our first three White Mulberry trees to plant. We wanted to ensure that where-ever we made our home would immediately have the opportunity to prepare for our future endeavours in fibre farming. These are now establishing nicely in our orchard area, amongst other fruit trees such as Persimmon, Cherry, Pear, Fig, Plum, Lemon and fruiting shrubs Blueberry, Raspberry, Redcurrent, and a gorgeous crown of Rhubarb. More information about these will develop later in the year when we begin to share our preservation techniques and offerings with you.
As we process our silk on site, this will provide several advantages, and continues the permaculture approach to our farming:
- Separation of the silk into fibre and serum
- Serum will be utilised in producing our own skincare and soaps combined with the goats milk products
- Production of our own threads for use in various textiles and lace making
- Natural Dye will come from our own vegetable garden
- Blending the silk with our other fibres of Alpaca and Angora Mohair, to create lustrous and versatile fabrics for weaving, knitting etc.
- Waste (grass) from the silkworms will be returned to the earth as a natural fertiliser
- The worms will be a healthy source of protein for the chickens, ducks and bantams
- Silkworms can no longer survive in the wild, therefore this is a conservation approach for the species
- Planting Mulberry Trees (and other varieties) is excellent for the environment, local wildlife, wind break and anti erosion needs of the area
- Silk is a natural fibre, biodegradable, healthy for the skin and environment, thereby ecologically friendly