From bale to beautiful yarn, we’ve told you a lot about the journey of cotton through Tower Mill. But the life our cotton had before it’s arrival here is just as fascinating – and equally important in the production of high quality threads.
Last week, English Fine Cottons’ general manager, Andy Ogden, made the journey to California to explore the beginning of our cotton’s story at J G Boswell, the world’s largest Supima cotton farm, where we get 85% of our supply.
Andy said he was ‘blown away’ by the experience. “It was farming on a scientific level. Their processes and operations are carried out with military precision and the area they cover is so vast – it was extremely impressive.
“We buy our Supima bales from J G Boswell because of the quality of their product and it was easy to see why it’s so good.”
The 200,000 acre farm grows tomatoes, almonds and pistachios along with Supima cotton, on fields that stretch a mile-long each.
Cotton is farmed with such precision that the plants all grow to within an inch in height to each other. They are harvested at exactly the right time, by combine harvesters run on GPS navigation systems, which leads to high levels of consistency in the cotton as well as complete traceability.
Andy said: “A cotton bale bought from J G Boswell can be traced not only to the field it was grown on, but the section of field it was grown on. You can find out on what date, at exactly what time, the cotton was harvested and even planted.”
With recent controversies surrounding the production of clothes for budget retailers, it’s becoming increasingly vital that manufacturers are able to prove the provenance of their products.
Andy added: “More and more consumers are seeking to buy British made products, so they can be assured they were sourced and made ethically and responsibly.
“It’s important that we can show complete transparency and sustainability.
“By working with people who share the same values, we can assure our customers that we are the right partner for them to work with – because in working with J G Boswell, we have chosen the right partners too.”
The picture below goes some way to show the scale of the Californian farm.
Andy witnessed cotton being harvested and put into modules, shown in the clip below.
Then he was taken on a tour of the farm’s ginnery, where trash and cotton seed is removed from the cotton before it is compressed into bales.