The handsomely tanned face of wool quality checker Diego Maza is proof of the strong rays of sun which is now trying to reach trough the cracks of the wooden shearing shed walls where he is about to explain his work. But the weather in the south of Argentina can be extremely cold and windy. “Patagonian sheep live in a perfect habitat because it is ideally cold here, and that is why the wool grows long to protect her”, Diego says while his worker hands carefully hoovers over a pile of freshly sheared merino wool. “The sheep here are practically a wild sheep”, he says while explaining how his passion consists of looking after and obtaining organic wool. That means someone has taken care of the sheep in its natural habitat where the farmers make sure the seeds will grow in peace because “an organic condition demands well-treated grass”, as Diego explains. Some of the farmers have learned their lesson. Diego says that previously “7000 sheep could be kept instead of 5000, and the damages could be seen on the ground”. Now, he says, he never again wants to see any soil become a desert.
The basic of organic farming means a naturally nutritious farmland where no pesticides have been used, it means living with nature, not of it. It means working with the ecological cycles of the outdoors and help sustain them. And of course; it means satisfied sheep. “Bother them as little as possible”, Diego says. He wants sheep to jump for joy. And for that to happen they need to feel completely free. Diego wants them to always be close to fresh water, and have the healthy grasslands nearby. The organic wool Diego is looking for comes from herds that have been wandering in fresh mountain air throughout almost the entire year. But, he says, the most important thing is for humans “to treat all the animals correct”. During the shearing Diego has been assured that the animals are never in danger, nor hurt in any way. He also needs the farmers to leave one centimeter of wool on their bodies, as to protect the unborn lamb inside the ewes. “We leave her a kind of sweater”, he says. Within two weeks after the shearing, the female sheep will deliver their lambs back in the nature where “they live peacefully together, sheltered, calm and happy”.