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National Alpaca Holiday Celebration

Melissa and Lou
 Ferrera, owners of New England Alpaca Farm in Killingworth, opened the gates of
 their farm free to the public as part of National Alpaca Farm Days.

 

Joining their fellow Alpaca farmers and lovers throughout the country, Melissa and Lou
Ferrera, owners of New England Alpaca Farm in Killingworth, opened the gates of
 their farm, free to visitors, as part of National Alpaca Farm Days this past 
weekend. 

This is the third year the couple
 has forgone attending the popular Durham Fair with their animals; they have 
instead decided to celebrate this special Alpaca weekend with friends, family 
and visitors to help educate them about these magnificent camelids, who produce 
22 different colors of fiber.

“I love my
 Alpacas and I really enjoy sharing them with others,” explains Melissa who was 
out and about on her farm, answering questions about her gorgeous herd.

She 
explained that Alpacas are indigenous to Peru, Chili, Bolivia and other parts
of South America, but live very happily in the ever changing New England
climate.

Also on site
 giving demonstrations, walking Alpacas around for guests to pet and answer
 questions about the special animals, were members of the Huggable Hummers 4-H 
Club that meets regularly at Melissa’s farm.

One young 
4-H Alpaca enthusiast, 13 year-old Madeline Gifford of Killingworth, explained
 what she loves most about these animals is the fact that they all have unique 
and different personalities.

“My favorite 
is a two year-old silver grey male named Kharson who I saw the day after he was 
born here and I just fell in love with him. He has such a sweet personality,”
 said Gifford.

Higganum 
resident Kelly Carone visited the farm for the first time last weekend and 
brought her daughter, four year-old Sophia and six year-old Elijah to see the
 unusual animals.

“I think
 this is great,” said Carone. “The kids really got a chance to get up close to 
the animals here, more than they can at the fairs, plus this is such a 
beautiful place, we are so glad we came.”

The trio bought some Alpaca fiber and had fun
 washing it on site. Carone explained they will use it so the birds in their
 yard at home can pull it from the nesting ball and use it to build a very warm
 home for the winter.

Alpaca fiber 
is an extremely plush, dense and warm material. Likened to cashmere, due to its 
soft silky feeling, Alpaca fiber is durable, light weight and beautiful. Knitters love it! It currently has a market value of approximately $3.50 per
 ounce and each animal yields about 10 pounds of fiber annually.

Melissa and Lou
 have 22 Alpacas on sight and have made farming these wide eyed, fuzzy headed,
 long legged animals a full time business since 1996. They breed, sell and harvest 
the Alpaca fiber as well as give seminars about their business to others who 
are interested in starting their own Alpaca farms.

In addition,
 the couple has a small store at their farm filled with brilliant, handmade
 Alpaca goods including hats, gloves, mittens, socks, scarves, sweaters and
 soft Alpaca toys.

If you are interested in visiting the farm and missed the 
National Alpaca Farm Days weekend, not to worry, the Ferrerra’s open their farm 
annually on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a great place to visit with holiday guests 
and an excellent choice for some unique, one of kind, locally grown and handmade
Christmas gifts.

For more 
information about the Thanksgiving weekend open farms days go to www.nealpacas.com or call 860-663-3482.

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