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Published April 10th 2016
Everybody's familiar with Margaret River as a great region for tasting and sampling unique produce- usually from a vine. Margaret River Silk Road is a worthy addition to this circuit with something truly unique. It's Australia's first, and only, Silk farm, and as well as having silk products and mulberry preserves to sample, they provide a back-story that spans much wider than South West Australia and will make you proud to support them.
When we arrived at the rustic, shed style, shop we were met by the assistant who offered us a brief guide to what the farm does, and why they do it.
The silk farm has only been operating since 2009, and produces a small amount of silk from the mulberry trees. Our guide talked us through the process of how the silk worms grow and produce the silk, and also how the silk is made. Being so small it would be difficult for the farm to support itself in all aspects- so instead they have partnered with fair-trade factories in Cambodia, where their supply of silk cacoons is supplemented by Cambodian silk. The silk products are made by disadvantaged tailors in Cambodia, and sent back to WA to be sold. It's a symbiotic relationship that supports our local business to get on its feet, and also assists workers in Cambodia to find fair work where they otherwise might struggle.
The shop is well displayed, and the products are available to touch and experience the softness of quality silk. Their Cambodian heritage can be often seen in the details of the tailoring. As well as clothing, accessories and silk linen, there is also a range of preserves and teas made from the mulberry trees, including some sample pots.
At the back of the shop is a display that illustrates the life cycle of the silk worm, and the several stages of silk production.