Alpaca. Gentle, intelligent, eco-friendly and fun. That’s how Jennifer Ely, owner of Sage Bluff Alpacas describes them. She says they’re raised for their fleece and this weekend you can find out all about them.
ELY: Saturday the 18th is our annual summer spin-in at Sage Bluff Alpacas. It’s our annual summer fiber arts festival. We shear our alpacas in April so they’ve got about 2 months of regrowth on, we have a barn full or gorgeous fleece and so we celebrate our harvest in the summer with a spin in.
There will be a number of fiber artists from around the Yakima Valley to show what can be done with the fleece. Ely says they show off the alpaca operation as well.
ELY: We provide farm tours, beautiful retail and of course all the demonstrations by the fiber artists. Alpaca fiber is warmer, softer and stronger than sheep wool and because it has no lanolin it’s hypoallergenic so it’s a great opportunity again to tour the farm, meet the alpacas. They’re a real curiosity for most people.
Alpaca is a food source in South America but here Ely says it’s the fleece.
ELY: We only have about 200-thousand animals in our national herd and it would take a national herd of over a million animals to support one full-time fiber mill like a Pendleton Mill. So we have a long way to go to grow our national herd in this country. We actually joke about alpacas being profitable from fashion to fertilizer.
Visit sagebluffalpacas.com for details. And that’s Washington Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.