Echoview Farm & Fiber Mill’s Past, Present and Future
Drive the backroads around Asheville, and you’ll find dozens of idyllic homesteads and hobby farms—but none quite like Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill.
It’s a venture born—like so many Ashevillian enterprises—of passion for this place we call home. After Julie Jensen roamed the Blue Ridge while taking her kids to and from Brevard’s Camp Carolina, she fell in love; years later, she settled on a small farm in Weaverville that gradually expanded, naturally evolving into what is now Echoview Farm. There you’ll find honeybees, a roost of chickens, fields of flowers and crops with natural dyes, and two small herds of fiber animals, alpacas and angora goats.
Those fiber animals, and the industries around them, are what inspired Jensen’s second venture under a similar appellation: Echoview Fiber Mill. “As I got deeper into the communities around my interests here in WNC (farming and fiber), I kept hearing people say that there needed to be a mill like Echoview, and I listened,” Jensen explains of the impetus for the mill. “There was not a great regional outlet for fiber farmers, so I wanted to create that, but I also wanted to build something that reflected my aesthetic and values; the result has been full of surprises. The original intent of the mill was to have a place where fiber farmers could have their fiber turned into yarn for their farm shops. The business has evolved as we have been developing products that we market where we simply buy and use local fiber, and I think that in many ways this arrangement has worked better for both us and the fiber farmers as there is a lot less risk involved for everyone.”
Echoview’s operations are wholly dedicated to sustainability. By working with Appalachian farms (and their own) and using local materials from renewable resources, the products they turn out—everything from luxuriously soft yarn in a rainbow of natural colors to chunky throw pillows to draping ponchos—are environmentally-friendly. Solar panels supply 50% of the electricity at the mill, and because everything is done in-house (most fiber goes from raw cut to finished product in one building), the carbon footprint of each item is negligible. Those products, as well as farm fresh eggs from Echoview Farm, are available in Echoview’s shop, a testament to beautiful minimalism (much like the enterprise itself).
As spring unfolds in lush shades of green, we can’t help but ask: what’s next for Echoview? “I hope that we can continue to grow more dye plants at the farm for dying yarn at the mill, which is a big experiment for us,” Jensen says, adding that yak fiber might be another fun undertaking.
But more than products, Echoview continues to be about place, and the people in it: “For the mill, we plan to continue to grow and foster a community of makers, and are really looking forward to expanding our team and our yarn lines,” Jensen adds.
What started as a small farm has expanded into an influential hub or sustainability and craft, as Jensen continues to inspire the passion for our mountains that began it all.