What fiber is a soft as cashmere, several times warmer and three times stronger than sheep’s wool, yet only half the weight? Alpaca, of course! We celebrate these gentle creatures and Northwoods Alpacas for raising them! –Chalkboard Thoughts
Farmers Bob and Belinda Grant, along with their seven children, live in a historic 1827 farm house on 12 acres of land in Bergen, New York (less then 30 miles from Rochester). In 1998 their dream of “living in the country” came true when they purchased “Northwoods” a place they describe as “a big country home with loads of history and character along with some established fruit trees and woods, plenty of room for a big garden, wide open spaces for the kids to grow and play, a large stocked pond and much more….” Early on they considered themselves “hobby farmers.” “Hobby farming just kind of evolved for us with the purchase of a few miniature goats and we soon ended up trying our hand at everything from bee keeping to maple sugaring! We raised bunnies for sale, as well as chickens for eggs and meat, turkeys, a solitary goose and a miniature horse named “Shadow” for good measure!” Several years later they discovered a wonderful farm animal to raise–the ALPACA.
Discover the World of Alpacas! Did you know that they are shorn once a year in the spring and produce 3 to 10 pounds of fleece? It is non-allergenic and with the low scale height of the finer micron fiber it doesn’t feel scratchy like other animal fibers. Alpaca fiber is unbelievably soft! It has no lanolin or other greases and it is relatively clean and dry, unlike sheep’s wool, which contains lanolin and significant amounts of waste material. This makes cleaning and processing simpler and more enjoyable. Both types of fiber blend well with wool, silk, cotton, mohair and cashmere. Alpaca fiber also accepts dyes. Suri and Huacaya fiber are highly sought after by both cottage-industry artists (like hand-spinners, knitters and weavers) and luxury apparel, textiles, even specialty interior fabrics. Used alone or blended, left natural or dyed, alpaca end-products are soft, luxurious, pleasurable treasures to own!
Northwoods Alpacas is proud to be the FIRST Alpaca Farm offering CSA SHARES for alpaca clothing! Not only is their fleece and fiber made into yarn and roving, but also hats, socks and clothing items. Belinda and Bob explain… “In conjunction with one of the leading alpaca fiber pools in North America, we are now offering shares that buy American-raised alpaca fiber and made in America alpaca clothing!!! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Our Alpaca Clothing CSA allows you to own a share of our alpaca herd and receive alpaca clothing from our herd as if you owned the alpacas yourself!” You can learn more by visiting their FARM STORE here!
Note: “We do supplement clothing from Peru only because the United States does not have the capability to manufacture alpaca clothing here on a commercial scale yet. We need about 2 million alpacas and there are only 160,000 right now. Until then we have to import alpaca goods. The USA market is wide open for growth.”