Friday, September 19, 2008

Alpaca Open Farm Weekend Showcases Farming Trend

The latest trend in Maine farming is one that would surprise a lot of people – raising alpacas. During the coming weekend the Maine Alpaca Association is kicking off their “Discover Maine … Discover Alpacas” campaign to provide education about alpaca ownership, business planning and to open the doors of Alpaca farms state-wide to Maine residents who are curious about what raising these animals is all about.
The Alpaca is a member of the South American camelid family which includes llamas and the wild guanaco and vicuna from which the llama and alpaca were originally domesticated. Unlike llamas (which were primarily used as pack animals), alpacas have been bred for their cashmere-like fiber, which was once reserved for Incan royalty.
The fact that alpaca fiber is a natural, renewable and a hypo-allergenic material contributes to its popularity, and explains why so many of the local alpaca farms like Lightfoot Farms in Kennebunk, Alpaca Fields in Berwick and Oakhill Alpaca Ranch in Shapleigh are eager to welcome the public during the upcoming Alpaca Open Farm Weekend on Satuday and Sunday, September 27 and 28. Many of the local farms will be offering alpaca yarn and products for sale during the tour days.
The Maine Alpaca Association’s mission is to educate the public about the long-term benefits of owning alpacas and promoting alpaca products in the State of Maine. The MAA calls The Open Farm Weekend on the 27th and 28th “a wonderful opportunity to learn about the burgeoning alpaca business in Maine,” adding that “Alpaca owners come from all walks of life but have at least one thing in common: a fondness for these charming and magnificent animals.” The weekend should allow local residents to connect with their neighbors and to learn about this developing Maine agricultural trend.
For more information about alpacas or for directions to alpaca farms participating in the upcoming Open Farm Weekend please visit
Caption: Alpacas at sunset on a Maine Farm. (Courtesy photo)