the Inedible Holiday Gift Guide

Wool & Cotton

By / Photography By Amy Zambonin | November 22, 2016
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Every spring, the milking flock of nearly 64 ewes is shorn, not completely naked, but enough to get ready for warmer days and milking season. And while the milk is the primary ingredient Caitlin and Kyle White, owners of Milkhouse Farm and Dairy, need, they don't let all that wool go to waste.

After graduating with science degrees from Queens and Ottawa Universities, the pair returned to Smith Falls to start their smallscale farm and dairy. They put their knowledge of chemistry to work producing raw sheeps' milk cheeses — a creamy, salty feta (that has a strong greek following) and an earthy, washed-rind tomme — for sale at farmers' markets and now wholesale to restaurants and retailers, as well as grass-fed lamb.

And all that wool, 300 pounds of it in 2015, is sent off to familyrun, Canadian mills to be washed, dried and spun into skeins of yarn or batting for custom-ordered duvets. The wool only accounts for 5 to 10 per cent of the couple's farm income, something most Canadian sheep farmers avoid because of the high cost of processing. But Caitlin says their customers appreciate getting local wool and often return to market to show-off their knitting projects. Caitlin carefully dyes the yarn using plant-based ingredients — onion skins, golden rod, black tea and madder root, for the deep reds — and local weaver, Judith Rygiel, knits the scarves just in time for the holiday season, not to mention winter.

Milkhouse Farm & Dairy | 613.285.9250

Find it at: Ottawa Farmers' Market (Lansdowne), Etsy online

From the quaint English countryside to the serene lakeshore of Prince Edward County, Kate Golding has always drawn inspiration from her surroundings, feeding her deep-rooted passion for pattern design. The English-born Golding studied fine arts at the University of Northumbria before moving to Canada in 2000, where she enjoyed a successful career in advertising in Toronto for a decade.

When Golding decided to move to the county with her partner, photographer (and edible Ottawa contributor) Johnny C.Y. Lam, her interest in surface pattern design was rekindled by a need to reinvent herself. And while moving to the county meant having to give up some of what city life affords, Golding says they are richer for it. They find the county community and its natural environment to be very inspirational.

In 2015, Golding launched her fabric designs, featuring repeating patterns of island icons — the county's water towers (the most popular design), Pinot Noir grapes and the sand dunes at Sandbanks, to name a few. The designs, which Golding initially draws by hand on a big-old-tank of a light table, are sold as tea towels, linens for weddings and a soon-to-be-launched line of wallpaper.

Local residents and tourists are drawn to this unique representation of their surroundings. As Golding says, it is a way for "people to take home a small piece of this very magical place."

Kate Golding

Find it at: Kokito, The Tuck Shop at Angeline's Inn, Zest Kitchen, Uproar (Ottawa)

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