Silk Farms on Hawaii: Can Do!

SilkwormsSilk farms on Hawaii and inter-islands have great potential.

I was first fascinated by the naturally-dyed hemp and silk yarns from Cheryl Kolander of Aurora Silk in Oregon during the late 90’s. That door opened many learning aspects of sustainable fashion and design. What impressed me most about Cheryl was her eagerness to teach and consult.

One of Cheryl’s favorite natural fibers is silk. She knows how to raise silkworms and she shares her cocoon processing knowledge online. One quickly learns that an essential requirement is access to mulberry leaves. To encourage mulberry owners to raise silkworms, Cheryl supplies eggs. She also offers her book titled A Silk Workers Notebook.

American mulberry is native to eastern United States from Massachusetts to Kansas and down to the Gulf coast. Varieties are plentiful in the Midwest and in Southwestern cities. Mulberry happens to grow well in Hawaii too.

I grew very excited about silkworm farming on Big Island a few years ago and met farmers who grew mulberry. They did so, however, as beekeepers. All this mulberry, but I could not find a silkworm farmer!

Well, once a farmer has the mulberry leaves, they need the eggs. So I wondered about ordering myself and thought maybe I could collaborate with a property owner who had mulberry bushes. Turned out that mainland suppliers will not ship to Hawaii. I read that it is a quarantine issue.

I found Chameleon Forums, however, where participants wanted to feed silkworms to their chameleon pets. Dated 2010, I read they could be ordered from Petland Kahala in Honolulu. Hmm, then maybe a pet store on Big Island would order them?

In my first related post below, I’m confused on the source. Yet it appears to be an Arizona student who found pages by Gertrude Whiting of a book she scanned. Therein I read that the potential for Hawaii silk production proved to be as fine as any other country. Funny Missionaries imported them while religion interfered with maintenance.

If any readers can help me connect with silkworm farmers in Hawaii who are capable of producing silk thread, please advise! I want to talk about “Peace Silk” which is a growing importation market from eastern countries. Ok, it costs more to produce here than there. But I say “think local” and utilize our fabulous island resources. Your comments are welcome.

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The Silkworm, and its Culture in Hawaii
How to Raise Silkworms by Rose Kivi
Caring For & Breeding Silkworms
Mulberry Farms (supplier)
Most Stretchable Spider Silk Reported: Study Conducted With Egg Sacs Collected from Natural Environment