I have been pruning a lot the past two days. Sometimes, as I make my way down a row, it is necessary for me to stop at a vine and retie the vine to it's stake, usually because the old piece of twine has degraded, or has been repurposed by one of my feathered friends. For this small vineyard operation I use twine made from the sisal plant (Agave sisalana). Sisal made in Brazil. Yes, Brazil, because it is illegal to grow sisal in the USA. Sisal is biodegradable and seeing as I don't want to use a polypropylene twine in the vineyard, and I am almost finished with my old bale, Brazilian sisal it had to be.
Whenever possible, I always try my best to buy products made in the USA, so it is very frustrating for me to have to buy a foreign-made product. It's complicated, as is everything the government pokes its nose into, but because, in the past, sisal was confused with hemp, (a cordage fibre obtained from the stalk of the marijuana plant, Cannibis sativa), sisal has been considered a controlled substance since the passing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Basically, it is illegal to grow sisal in the United States of America.
Historically, hemp was grown by US presidents and was the crop of choice on many southern plantations. Hemp was used extensively by the USA during World War II to make canvas, rope and GI's uniforms. But poor sisal, a very useful cordage fibre obtained from the leaves of the sisal plant, has had aspersions cast on its character by being lumped in with the skunky-smelling plant favoured by old, dopey hippies. It's a travesty.
This evening, when I threw my vineyard-dirty trousers into the laundry basket, I happened to notice that my pants were also made in Brazil. It's a conspiracy.