Little White Goat Dairy (LWGD) has been a member of the Amherst Farmers' Market for several years now and what a wonderful addition they, and their offerings, have been! A little history/story about LWGD and their reliable workers; their livestock guardian dogs!
"Our farm is graced by Pearl (black dog in photos) and Buck (tricolor in photos), our livestock guardian dogs. We got Pearl as a 6 year old who'd lived with goats her entire life. Her trip to our farm was only the second time she had been in a car!
She is a Maremma/Karakachan cross. Maremma are an Italian breed with records of them back into the Roman Empire. Karakachan, from Bulgaria, are even older, beginning in Thrace and early Greek civilization.
We were so impressed with Pearl's bear and coyote chasing, and her calm devotion to the herd, we brought in Buck, a purebred Karakachan puppy. It was fascinating to watch Pearl teach him how to be a good guardian. And her stern lessons on how not to be bad were impressive. They need to be calm around the livestock by day, and be vigilant by night.
We have acclimated them to people and they are very happy to greet visitors to the farm store. (Human visitors. Other dogs are considered threats to their herd, so do come visit without your dogs). So are, much to our surprise, birds of prey. No hawk is carrying off a goat, and someday Buck will figure out that robins aren't going to either.
They will patrol the perimeter and chase away predators. They do not pursue in order to attack. After the threat has been moved off, they head back to their posts at the barn. It's been great for the goats to not be shut in behind locked doors overnight.
They are totally different than the house dogs we've had. They live outdoors year round. They are innately independent and extremely intelligent. This combination makes for the ability to perform their duties without human guidance, but... they are not in the least bit interested in learning standard dog commands. Buck kinda sorta knows "sit" and "come" . Pearl, no way.
The remarkable thing is how rarely they require human direction. They know their job and take the responsibility very seriously. With great personality and temperaments they have earned our greatest respect and our deepest affection....which leads us to the new puppy, Otto!"
Come to the AFM tomorrow/Saturdays and see and stock up on the fruits of their labor!
FROM ALPACA FIBER TO FASHION FARMER
Donna Young's a farmer/vendor at the Amherst Farmers' Market on Saturdays from the third Saturday in April until the Saturday before Thanksgiving, going from 7:30am until 1:30pm. You might see her still packing up after 2:00 on many a Saturday, after everyone else might be home, he-he-he! She's sure the farmers' market manager doesn't notice that she is delayed. This is her sixth year with her fashionable warm alpaca products at a very successful farmers market currently at the Common in Amherst rather than Spring Street due to COVID-19.
Donna Young, age 59, has been farming in Ware for 32 years, when she purchased 16 acres of raw land nestled in the Hills of Western MA, near the Quabbin Reservoir. Donna commenced building a split level house and a 60' by 90' barn that houses horses and alpaca along with some out buildings. Donna's best friend, who she went to many Alpaca Affair's with, soon retired, moved to Maine and purchased 2 alpacas : ) Donna, not to be out done, purchased 10 alpaca's, lol. She quickly grew her herd to over 50 but 3 years sold 30 alpacas to down size in her retirement, and now has 18 -13 girls/hembras and 5 boys/machos.
Alpaca's are originally from South America particularly Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Donna originally purchased her alpaca's from Canada as the American Dollar was worth 100/70% in 2001. Alpaca's are smaller than Llama's and are related to Camels as all have a split lip characteristic.
Alpaca's are timid, docile and they mostly spit at other herd members they may have a pet peeve with, and even known to spit in the others ear, yuk! Alpaca's can grow up to 10 pounds of fiber/fur a year which is shorn/harvested once a year in the spring, a pair of socks takes almost ½ pound of prime fiber to make.
Alpaca fiber is used to make clothing that wicks moisture and eliminates odor, it is very soft and just a thin layer is needed to keep you very warm. Natural alpaca fiber is available in 22 colors and the light colors can be dyed to red/blue/purple/pink/green etc. Socks, boot inserts, gloves/mittens, hats/scarfs are just a few items that are made from my alpacas fiber. Alpaca is a natural wool fiber that will keep you warm for as long as you want to be outdoors, though it's always nice to have a warm cup of hot chocolate, yum!
In Donna's spare time she likes to ride her 17 year old white Thoroughbred gelding for fun, he's a great horse and loves attention. She also has a 17 year old bay Thoroughbred gelding which is a brother from another mother, as all thoroughbred's are related to 3 stallions...a story for another day. There is a large surrendered number of alpacas and rabbits at Nevim's Farm: https://www.wwlp.com/news/massachusetts/large-surrender-of-alpacas-and-rabbits-in-massachusetts/
GO Farm is your super local, go-to source of the freshest, locally produced pork, chicken, eggs and more! Named for our two children, George and Olivia (GO) who inspired us to make our farming dreams a reality. GO Farm’s mission is to provide sustainable food products including organic produce, pasture-based meat products, and eggs, while also supporting the local agricultural community and the local economy.
GO Farm began farming on a small scale as a hobby, then the farm transitioned to an authentic farm business, more rapidly than we anticipated. For four years now, GO farm has raised meat products--chicken, pork, and eggs--as well as organic and conventional vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and winter squash, etc.). Originally the farm began growing vegetables on three acres of rented land. Since then we have grown substantially. Today, we manage and own 15 acres of farmland, which we purchased this year as we have moved from our original location in Amherst to our new Farm in Hatfield.
At GO Farm, we raise heritage breed pigs, Gloucester Old Spots, which provide a uniquely flavorful pork. Our chickens are derived from a heritage breed as well, which produce a delicious meat with higher proportion of dark meat to white meat. We will be at the market this Saturday with fresh chicken back in stock! Pork will be back in stock in a few weeks! Follow us on Instagram @gofarm_mass, Facebook @G.O.FarmMA , and our website WWW.GOFarmStore.com for product offerings, preorders for the market, or pick up right from the farm, and we are at the Amherst Farmers' Market EVERY Saturday during the Market season!
Established in 2017, Quabbin Hill Farms is a diversified family and friends farm located in the heart of the Quabbin-Swift River Valley. Situated on 17 acres of sustainable farm land just a half of a mile from one of the many beautiful trails leading to the legendary Quabbin Reservoir, its fertile soil and naturally green pastures provide the perfect setting for growing nutritious fruits and vegetables and raising healthy, happy chickens.
In 2019, we expanded into home grown, hand-tended hemp and handcrafted CBD products including salves, soaps, tinctures, and supplements. We are licensed by the state of Massachusetts, and all of our products go through rigorous testing to ensure they meet the MDAR standards.
Quabbin Hill Farms is committed to sustainable, organic, and ethical farming practices. It’s founder Michael Vilcans, a graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture’s Sustainable Food and Farming program, is passionate about continuing the tradition of and expanding local, organic, and sustainable food systems in Massachusetts. That is why he established Quabbin Hill Farms along with his partner and experienced urban farmer, Molly Crookes, and their close friends and accidental agriculturalists Jason Awerman and Sadie Trombetta.
We are dedicated to continuing the tradition of farming and agriculture in Western Massachusetts, a place we have called home for over a decade. By providing our customers with fresh, nutritious ingredients at a reasonable price, we hope to help them and their families reconnect with their food, the people who grow it, and the beautiful land that makes it all possible.
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.