Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cotton

The Arizona economy is based on five industries and every school child in Arizona learns about the five C’s that provide income for the state. Those are Copper, Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, and Climate. Today I’ve posted a photo of a cotton plant with its bloom or “boll” wide open and ready to be harvested.

Arizona is known for Supima cotton, a variety that is widely considered the finest cotton in the world. The name comes from Superior Pima after the Pima Indians who helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture develop it in the early 1900’s.

Today, the Supima fiber quality is very well regulated. Clothing makers like LL Bean and Land’s End pay $5000.00 a year to use the Supima name on their labels and the pieces of clothing with those labels are routinely tested and the DNA mapped to make sure the cotton in pure Supima. Even Ralph Lauren uses Supima cotton to make his famously fashionable sheets because the infamous Egyptian cotton does not have the same quality control standards.

All of that planning and commerce around that tiny little cotton ball not much bigger than the cotton balls we all use to apply make-up or wash a wound.

10 comments:

JM said...

Very interesting the 5 Cs story and great cotton plant detail.

Jarart said...

I remember seeing cotton fields everywhere all over the southwest part of Arizona. Now there are not so many and where cotton once grew, houses grow now. This was a great post, Sharon.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

A very informative post. I guess I need to be pickier about my cotton.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

great post for today and great narrative!

Boise Diva said...

I always see the fields, but not the close-up like this!

Kathleen said...

My grandfather was foreman of the cotton gin in south Phoenix until he retired. I remember going into the mill as a child and seeing the huge bales of cotton and all of the equipment. We used to card cotton for my grandmother to stuff dolls with and we did get to see it in the fields and pull the cotton out of ripe pods. Great photo! Love the information, too!

Kathleen said...

Um - foreman of the cotton mill in south Phoenix... LOL - I suppose that is more correct!

kewllewk said...

Great photo and thanks for sharing this story. The 5 C's is something that provides such history for Arizona. Unfortuantely, cotton production in the state is slipping. For more information on Supima you can go here www.supima.com and also visit the current blog at http://supimacotton.blogspot.com

As for Supima cotton, there is a BIG difference between cottons and Supima is being adopted as today's premium cotton becuase of the control on the quality.

kewllewk said...

One other comment. Cotton Gin is correct! A mill would be a textile mill which would refere to a facility that spins the cotton. The gin is the facility that would clean the cotton and create the standardized bales for shipping.

Eric said...

AND your blog is educational! I have Ralph Lauren bath towels. I checked and yes, they are Supima. It's nice to see some things are still made in the U.S.A.