By Deb Everts
Several local farms will join other alpaca farms across the country to observe National Alpaca Farms Days, Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30.
During the weekend, families will have the opportunity to visit the farms where they can get up-close to alpacas for a hands-on experience. Visitors can learn about the animals and their history, how to raise them, their fleece and the products made from it.
Alpaca farm owners will be happy to offer tips and suggestions to visitors who might be interested in beginning their own small alpaca operation. People will learn the cost of having an alpaca, the babies (cria) and the tax benefits.
A Slice of Heaven Alpacas, in Randolph, will be open Saturday only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during Alpaca Farm Days event. Owners Mike and Sue Bean will offer tours of the alpaca areas where people can see their animals.
Now in their seventh year of alpaca farming, they have a herd of 36 that is about to become 37 because, according to Sue, they are waiting for one of their alpacas to give birth anytime now.
“By the time Alpaca Farm Days is here, we’ll have a little baby (cria) on the farm. We only have one baby this year, so we’re very much looking forward to this one. It’s from two special alpacas that were breed to produce a special combination, so we’re hoping this one is something pretty fabulous,” she said.
The Beans enjoy educating visitors about these amazing, beautiful, gentle animals and the products made from their fleece. She said they will be happy to offer tips and suggestions to visitors who might be interested in beginning their own small alpaca operation, much like how their own farm began.
“Most people don’t know what alpacas are or what they produce. At the Alpaca Farm Days event, they learn the cost of having an alpaca, the tax benefits and they get to see and touch the animals,” she said.
While visiting the farm, visitors can check out the Simply Natural Alpaca Gift Shop on the premises where they can sign up for drawings to win a $25 and $50 gift certificate and can take advantage of some in-store specials. Refreshments will be available including chili, cider, donuts, hot dogs, and coffee with all proceeds going to the Randolph Community Cupboard.
A Slice of Heaven Alpacas is located at 11144 Pope Road, in Randolph. Regular business hours for the gift shop are Monday and Tuesday from 4-6 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To find out more, call 358-5242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the farm online at asliceofheavenalpacas.com and Facebook.
HELEN AND TIMM Herman of Ellicottville are participating in the Alpaca Farm Days event both Saturday and Sunday. They welcome visitors to Sugartown Farms, located at 6277 Sugartown Road, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that weekend.
According to Helen, they will have alpacas available for viewing and touching. They’ll talk about the alpacas during an educational tour and their gift shop, Sugartown Farms Store, will be open.
“We’ve been in the business about 14 years and we currently have 55 alpacas in our herd,” she said. “We have seven cria and there will be an area where the visitors will be able to see the the moms and their crias.”
Sugartown Farms, located on the edge of the village of Ellicottville, is open weekends and weekdays by appointment year-round. The farm store offers a wide variety of quality alpaca apparel including socks, hats, gloves, sweaters, and scarves. It also features a selection of handmade heirloom quality bears, blankets, and soft, fleecy toys for a very special and unique baby gift. Spinners, knitters and fiber artists will find a wide range of products including yarns, rovings, raw fleeces and batting.
To learn more, contact Sugartown Farms at 699-2902, email email@example.com or visit online at openherd.com and Facebook.
Find an alpaca farm online at alpacainfo.com. Each farm will offer different attractions, demonstrations and activities. Please note that not all participating alpaca farms are listed.