Francis Cestari is a legend in the United States wool world and he is coming to My Sister Knits! He’ll be here Tuesday August 27th from 1pm until 4pm. Meeting this impressive and dedicated sheep farmer and hearing his stories will be an event you’ll never forget.
Francis is the owner and CEO of Cestari Sheep & Wool Company. Born in Brooklyn, he knew early on that all he wanted to do was be a farmer. His father talked him into becoming an attorney so he’d have something to fall back on if farming didn’t work out! He was a practicing attorney for a time before he followed his farming dreams. He found out later that his ancestors had been sheep farmers in Italy for generations!
Francis and his family moved to their current farm near Augusta, Virginia in 1968. That tells you something about how long he has been following his passion! He has been deeply involved in the wool industry in so many ways. He lives and breathes sheep and wool and is dedicated to improving the lot of sheep and the farmers who care for them!
In the early 1980s he built the first new wool mill in the United States in generations. The US mills were closing and he didn’t want to send his wool to China to be processed so he took matters into his own hands!
He developed a program to improve and increase the wool sheep numbers in the U.S. by offering his own lambs for sale and paying what is historically the highest price in the country for their fleeces.
He supports the national Make It With Wool Contest sponsored by the American Sheep Industry. This program encourages people under the age of 24 to design and make clothes that use at least 60% wool. His support consists of valuable prizes to the winners of the Junior and Senior divisions.
Beyond that, he makes wool from his sheep! They’re bred according to the yarn Francis Cestari wants to create so the focus is on the end product. He has Rambouillet (for the finest and softest wool possible), Columbia (hardier and the yarn can withstand rougher treatment), and Targhee (for a loftier, warm wool) sheep on his farm. Their fleece can be spun together in several ways to create yarns with different qualities.
Francis Cestari is certainly a special person and we are so pleased to host him at My Sister Knits! We can’t wait to meet him and be regaled with his stories of shepherding and the sheep industry! Please join us!