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Bringing back farms Switzerland produces its own silk

For the first time in 100 years, silk is being produced in Switzerland. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) 

There are records of silk being made in Zurich as far back as the Middle Ages, and a number of workshops sprang up all around the country, but in 1914 the last silk factory was closed in Ticino. 

In 2009 a group of innovative farmers got together with the aim of promoting the breeding of silkworms and reintroducing the manufacture of silk products. 

Led by Ueli Ramseier, a farmer and textile engineer from canton Bern, they set up the Swiss Silk Association.

So far the association has produced 20 kilograms – enough to make 150 ties and 30 scarves, which are being sold under the label `Weisbrod’. 

Silk is obtained from the cocoonsexternal link of the larvaeexternal link of the mulberryexternal linksilkwormexternal linkBombyx moriexternal link, reared in captivity.  

Breeding silkworms is quite challenging. The insects only thrive in the right climate. 

The creatures mate quickly after emerging from their chrysalis, and die a day or so after laying their eggs. There are 12 silkworm breeders in Switzerland.