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Pima cotton is primarily grown in limited quantities in three different areas, the southwestern regions of the US, Australia and Peru. It originated in Peru, but it gained its name after the Pima Indians who helped raise the cotton in the United States. Peruvian pima cotton grows along the northern coastal valleys of Peru. Environmentally friendly hand-harvesting results in silky soft fibres which are free from scratchy impurities.

Pima cotton is a high-end strain of cotton with a long fibre measuring between 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. Conventional cotton fibres only measure up to 1 inch. Due to its extra-long length, Peruvian pima cotton is especially soft, durable, and highly resistant to pilling. Pima cotton is ideal for those who suffer from allergies, sensitive skin or chronic pain.

Unlike most commercial cotton, Peruvian pima cotton is harvested entirely by hand to ensure that only the best quality is used. Not only is harvesting by hand more environmentally sound, it’s better for the cotton itself. Industrial harvesting tears the cotton fibres, giving it a yellowed hue and creating a scratchy texture that affect the smoothness of the final garment. Hand-picking comes with obvious benefits for the environment compared to machine-based harvesting, and the work is beneficial for the community as a source of local employment in these rural growing areas.

Photo courtesy of Bergman Rivera one of our organic pima cotton yarn suppliers.