By AFM Contributing Writer: Cheryl Conklin
Maintaining a Profitable Hobby Farm
Hobby farms can be a fun, lucrative venture for those willing to put in the effort. Learn more about how you can earn an income from your hobby farm.
Attending Farmers' Markets
Farmer's markets have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, and Amherst is home to many of them. Having a dedicated place at a farmers' market means you'll be exposed to many potential customers and you can make face-to-face connections as you pitch your product. Do your best to have a consistent presence at these farmers' markets. Many customers may plan their meals around visits to your stall, and you'll earn their trust by showing up regularly with the products they want. And, ask for feedback on your products and solicit suggestions for future offerings.
Invite Guests to Your Farm
Your land itself can also be a valuable profit source. You can effectively create two distinct income streams: product and property. By creating a brand for your property, you can sell the experience of visiting in addition to the actual products.
Many people may be interested in learning how to grow their own produce or butcher their own meat, and hosting on-site workshops on these topics can entice them to visit your farm. If you have the space, also think about hosting events, such as weddings, or renting out your farm for others to host events. Make sure you consult a Massachusetts business law attorney who can help you understand the risks and liabilities involved with inviting the public to your working farm.
Using Social Media Marketing
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with potential customers. Customers will be able to discover your business and you can develop a devoted following through regular and meaningful interaction with customers on social media. You can start by following other hobby farm accounts to see what types of content they're posting. This will give ideas for content for your own account and you'll be able to judge what content is most popular and engaging. However, be sure to practice proper social media etiquette, which includes asking for permission or giving credit when sharing someone else's content.
As video platforms such as TikTok continue to dominate social media, make sure you get comfortable being on camera. If it helps, you can create a script for your videos and set up a content creation schedule to make the process less overwhelming.
You can also hire a social media manager to help you market your business. You can find these professionals on freelance platforms, and you should account for turnaround time and client reviews. And if you just asked “How much do social media managers make?” then it’s important to budget for between $14 and $35 per hour.
Lead with Locally Sourced
In a crowded field of products, one of your main selling points will be your homegrown appeal. Consumers are increasingly interested in locally-sourced foods and there is a growing movement to embrace the farm-to-table concept. Advertising yourself as a locally owned organic business can also prove to be profitable around the holidays as many people intentionally look to check off their holiday shopping lists with products from local small businesses.
Profiting Off Your Hobby Farm
Not only can your hobby farm provide sustenance for your family, but it can also generate a sustainable income. Monetizing your hobby farm can be done in many ways and through many outlets; selling from a local farm stand or building your own. Selling to local merchants that are willing to add value with your product. Visiting and joining local farmers' markets in your area like many sellers do in Amherst at the Amherst Farmers' Market!
By AFM Contributing Writer: Aimee Whittington Ph.D.
One of the industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 2 years has been agriculture. Smallholders produce over 1/3 of the world’s food and, globally, the food supply rests quite literally on their shoulders. In fact, so many farms are run by only one person or one family, most countries asked farmers to provide written instructions on farm operations, in case they contracted COVID. In the United States, 80% of the 2.02 million farms are classified as ‘small’, with a gross income of less than $100,000. Most of that income is derived from selling to stores, schools and restaurants in the producer’s general area. When schools and restaurants shuttered in 2020, many farmers were stuck with extra inventory and nowhere to sell it.
While large chain grocery stores were selling out and resources like food banks were overwhelmed, those local farmers had to choose a next step. After the initial impact died down, small farmers overwhelmingly turned to their communities. And many found success by shifting their business models. Most of those small farms pivoted in one of two ways.
First, some transitioned to, or became exclusively, a ‘closed loop food system’. That’s when a single farm controls the entire food chain. Everything is grown/raised and harvested/butchered on the farm. Then it’s packaged at and sold by the farm. The closed loop system insulates against most of the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.
Second, while the pandemic certainly reduced some types of demand, it created others at a local level. These local buyers gave many small farms a chance to switch operating models. It worked especially well for farms with CSAs. The disruptions in the supply chain combined with so many people wanting a ‘safer’ source of food and ‘safer’ place to shop, resulted in CSA memberships increasing substantially across the country. Additionally, farms running CSA's were able to look at products which had historically sold well and produce more of those products for local customers.
Lastly, the community value of a market (especially in the open air), can’t be overstated. Especially for those who are high risk or couldn’t, until recently, ensure the safety of small children, farmers’ markets provide an invaluable point of connection. They provide a touchstone of normalcy in a world still too full of uncertainty. Bringing together local producers, local folks and fostering community engagement has, quite possibly, never been more important. We need the small farms. We need the markets. We need each other.
One of the things that makes the Amherst Farmers’ Market special, is the focus on keeping the small farmer at its center. For all of us, navigating the market through the summer of 2020 was both an exhausting and an immensely rewarding experience. The summer of 2021 was slightly easier because we had some idea of what we needed to do. Over the next several newsletters, we’re going to take a more detailed look at the changing landscape of the small farm, with emphasis on Massachusetts. As we get ready for the 2022 season, whatever it may bring.
Happy New Year's!
Article by AFM Contributing Writer; Cheryl Conklin
We’re sure you can think of plenty of reasons not to start a business just yet. And if you dream of launching a venture in food service or hospitality, you may be even warier than other industries. Yes, 2020 was one of the hardest years on record for the hospitality sector, with lots of businesses closing and workers laid off. What’s more, the pandemic isn’t over, and its effects on the economy are likely to be felt for some time.
However, as Fast Company points out, there are also legitimate reasons to start a business this year. First: opportunity. The pandemic has opened the floodgates to new customer needs. Second, small business loans are being offered with historically low interest rates right now, not to mention the many other funding opportunities available. Third, there are lots of qualified workers looking for employment.
If your heart is saying to start a business this year, then don’t let the uncertainties of the pandemic or the economy kill your dream. To help you get off to a strong start, Amherst Farmers’ Market is here with some practical tips for the brave entrepreneurs out there:
Create a Business Plan
Writing a business plan is crucial because it will help guide you through the various challenges you’ll face when launching and running your company. Once you’ve refined your business idea, create a document that contains all relevant information pertaining to your business. This should include your core values, service description, target market, funding needs, and more.
Plan Your Staff
Having the right-size staff is essential when starting a business. You don’t want too few employees, and you don’t want too many. The key is to strategize your staff where the right people are working in the right positions. Focus on hiring people with versatile skill sets so that you can easily adapt when necessary. Create a positive work environment, and treat your employees well.
Use a Reliable Accounting System
Your accounting software is at the heart of any successful undertaking, and it goes beyond just keeping accurate books for recording and reporting P&L. Investing in a solid software platform like QuickBooks will help you monitor and report expenses, as well as check on business performance in real time, which assists with ordering and managing inventory. When integrated with payroll, it can also improve scheduling of employees and tracking their time.
Diversify Your Offerings
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that things can change quickly. Going forward, restaurant and hospitality businesses must remain adaptable and diversify their offerings. Always be assessing new concepts in the industry to determine if you should modify your operations and offerings. Consider licensing your most popular products or recipes. And set up an online store where you can sell groceries, merchandise, and other items related to your company.
Also consider the many benefits of working with local farmers. Not only does this introduce the freshest ingredients and produce to your menu, it’s an appealing statement to your regular customers as well as new diners. This is especially true for millennials, who value the farm-to-table aspect and appreciate the support for local farmers. It’s a true win-win for everyone involved.
Hit the Marketing Hard
Lastly, promote your business as effectively as possible. As soon as you have your business idea ready to go, start getting the word out online and around town. Begin building your online presence by creating a top-notch website. Utilize advertising on social media and email. Hand out fliers, and leave brochures and other marketing materials at local businesses in your area. Moreover, plan a local event or two where you give community members a taste of what’s to come!
Sure, there are reasons not to start a business right now. But there are arguably stronger reasons why you should. Remember to develop a detailed business plan that will help you overcome the upcoming obstacles. Start thinking about what kind of staff you need, and strategize how you can remain adaptable and diverse. Finally, market your business like there’s no tomorrow.
By AFM Contributing writer Cheryl Conklin
Starting your own garden can be a truly rewarding experience in many ways than one. The benefits are varied and plenty, and encompass almost every aspect of your life and household. It also opens up opportunities in which you can help those most vulnerable within your community, too. Let’s break down the specifics.
Benefits You Enjoy
Raising your own garden is truly a great way to enrich your household and improve your family’s quality of life. The health benefits of such a green space alone are impressive, while its offerings to your overall wellness can’t be beaten.
Beyond Your Backyard
The benefits of raising a garden are varied and plenty for you and your household. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, there’s more than one way for your garden to serve your community, too.
Building Your Garden
It may come as a surprise that creating a home garden is not quite the tall order that it seems like at first glance. However, it still helps to know the specifics — literally from the ground up — to ensure that this space is as productive as it is pleasing to the eye.
Suffice it to say, a garden is more than just a pretty space to have at home; it can also sustain life and health within your household and community. Indeed, growing your own garden can be a precious contribution to the world, so go ahead and make it yours, too.
Photo via Pexels.com
By AFM Contributing Writer, Cheryl Conklin
Climate change, according to NASA, is “one of the most complex issues facing us today.” It’s an issue that goes beyond science, and it involves politics, economics, and ethics. Despite its large scale, it’s the small things that are going to impact its effects. As a homeowner, there are things you can do to minimize your own carbon footprint and help Mother Nature keep her cool.
Visit the Amherst Farmers’ Market for the freshest locally produced and grown foods!
If you have an eye for details, RoofingCalc.com points out you can perform your own smart home energy audit without spending the $400 you are likely to be charged by a professional. Start by looking for areas of your home where heat can escape. This may be old windows, poor seals around the door, or on insulated flooring above the basement. If your home is more than 10 years old, you likely have room for improvement via steps like caulking air leaks and improved heating and cooling.
Harness the power of the sun
Solar energy is provided by the sun free of charge. However, solar panels will cost you. The average cost to install solar panels ranges from $17,760 to $23,828. Many local power companies have agreements with installation providers that can get you a discount. Some even offer money back on your energy bill for installing one or more solar panels. If you can get your neighborhood together and convince several homeowners to purchase solar panels, you’ll have leverage when asking for better pricing.
Get your heat from underground
Many homes today are advertised as being green. One of the biggest selling points for these is geothermal heat. Popular Mechanics explains that geothermal heat comes from underground and is a cost-effective way to save money on your monthly power bill while doing some good for the environment. Retrofitting a home with a geothermal system isn’t cheap and may cost as much as $30,000, but if you can get tax credits or incentives from your local power company, a geothermal system can pay for itself in about 10 years.
Switch to a new type of outlet
If you weren’t already aware, the outlets in your home can continue to provide power to appliances even if they are turned off. Business Insider recommends installing power-saving switches, which can be turned on and off at your convenience and won’t add to your utility bill when not in use. Chargers in particular are the biggest energy vampires in the home, so consider at least upgrading where they are plugged in.
“Low-flow” is a term used in plumbing to describe faucets that use less water than a traditional fixture. When installed throughout the home, low-flow fixtures can cut your home’s water usage in half without sacrificing your hygiene routine. A low-flow showerhead typically runs around $20. Check with your water company – they may provide these free of charge
Maximize natural light
Solar power is not the only way you can harness the power of the sun. Natural light, which is available even on cloudy days, can keep you from flicking on your fixtures. But it’s not enough to simply open the curtains. You’ll need to strategically hang mirrors throughout your home and use a lighter color palette on the walls.
Use common sense
DirectEnergy.com lists more than two dozen ways to be energy-efficient at home. These include common sense actions such as washing your clothes in cold water and setting your thermostat up and down as the temperature changes.
Upgrade your community
Addressing your own policies and practices is one thing, but have you considered making a broader effort? Look at cities that are known for their green practices, and consider pushing for changes on a local level. Bikeability, walkability and renewable energy sources are key factors influencing how green a location truly is.
Challenge your own community to embrace the changes necessary to raise your own town’s environmental ratings. To help make your case, point out how these changes not only create a healthier environment for living, but a healthier economy at the same time.
Making a few modifications to your home won’t change the world, but it’s a good start. By taking the initiative to go green, you set a positive example for your friends and neighbors, and may start a domino effect that can help get the climate under control.
By AFM Contributing writer, Cheryl Conklin
With all the conflicting health and fitness information out there, it is easy to become overwhelmed. How do you know what actually works when there are so many options? If you are currently experiencing information overload with regards to healthy eating advice, keep reading. The following article from Amherst Farmers’ Market offers easy tips for healthy eating that will benefit everything from your mental health to your physical health to your dental health.
If you read healthy eating blogs, watch the news, or skim magazines, there is always some tidbit of information on healthy eating. One day you may read that pasta is good for you, the next day it might be deemed the worst possible food. With all this competing information, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. One consistent recommendation across almost any meal plan is to avoid processed food. Stay away from foods with lengthy ingredient lists or high levels of trans-fats, salt and sugar. Likely, you will feel healthier, more confident and better equipped to tackle day-to-day tasks.
Focus on How You Feel
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” you already have a basic understanding of how food affects your mind and body. Focusing on how certain foods make us feel is one of the easiest ways to determine if what we are eating is good for us. For example, some people can eat cheese and bread and feel great, while others may feel lethargic, moody or even sick. There is no perfect diet for everyone, so being vigilant about how your body responds to certain foods is fundamental for meal planning.
Eating high levels of processed foods has been connected with increased rates of anxiety, depression, stress and sadness. Additionally, consuming high amounts of sugary foods and beverages can result in serious oral health issues. On the other hand, eating whole, unprocessed foods comes with a myriad of mental health benefits including mood stability, higher energy levels and better sleep. The process of thinking about how food makes you feel is referred to as “mindful eating” and can be used to help create a personalized eating mantra.
Shop the Perimeter
One easy way to avoid processed food without reading endless labels is to simply shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Almost every grocery store is shaped in a square/rectangle with meat, dairy, produce, and bread making-up the four sides. The inner isles generally contain items such as cereal, granola bars, jams and junk food. If you want to stick to a healthy, whole meal plan without the hard work, plan your diet based on items found on the outskirts of the store. When you do venture into the middle aisles, focus on foods with limited ingredient lists such as quinoa, canned legumes and nut milk. Shopping the perimeter of the store is an easy way to avoid temptation, diversify your diet and consume more whole foods.
Eat More Plants
Following a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to ensure your body is getting enough vitamins and minerals. Additionally, a diet centered on whole, unrefined plants helps eliminate processed foods associated with obesity and heart disease. Vegetables, fruit and legumes also contain high percentages of water, helping you stay full and hydrated for longer. While you may think a plant-based diet would rack-up your grocery bill, there are a number of plant-based foods that are relatively cheap. For example, a head of lettuce costs about $2.50 while a box of sugar-packed cereal can sell for upwards of $6. To help reduce the financial burden of a plant-based diet, purchase fruits and veggies that are in season and on sale.
Eat for Your Teeth
When too much processed food is consumed, it can wreak havoc on your teeth. An abundance of sugary soda, sweets and unhealthy snacks increases the risk of tooth decay. By building a diet based on healthy, whole foods, you’ll not only eliminate health hazards, but you’ll also give your pearly whites an advantage.
In addition to eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, be sure you’re brushing and flossing properly. Try to brush your teeth after every meal to ensure you’re removing anything that could lead to increased plaque or bacteria. If food keeps getting stuck between your teeth due to misalignment, you should take extra measures to ensure a healthy smile since crooked teeth can significantly impact oral health. Talk to an orthodontist about the best treatment to straighten your teeth. While braces are certainly an option for adults, you may feel more comfortable with clear aligners. Compare some of the popular alignment systems to determine which treatment option fits your alignment needs, your timeline and your budget.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be confusing. By eliminating processed foods, eating more plants and focusing on how you feel, you can create a healthy eating plan specific to your body. Today is the day to start eating nutritious meals, feeling better and taking control of your health and well-being.
Welcoming CremeBru.LA and Dan Levine (an Amherst native) to the Amherst Farmers' Market as a new member for the 2021 season! Dan, Theresa Ryan AND their son, Ben, will be offering something new AND delicious on Saturdays at the AFM!
Dan Levine of CremeBru.LA (@cremebru.la on Instagram and Facebook) grew up in Amherst and started in foodservice at Antonio’s in the early 90s. His first experiences with Creme Brûlée were at local restaurants like the Blue Heron and the Night Kitchen.
After college in Michigan and 20 years in New York and California, first as a writer and then in technology, Dan met Theresa Ryan in LA. In 2015, their son Ben was born.
Dan had always loved to cook and Theresa, currently a voiceover actor and Realtor™️, spent decades in restaurants and as a karaoke host and event DJ. Somehow during a 2019 visit to Dan’s childhood home, Dan and Theresa found themselves testing out creme brûlée recipes for 25 of his parents’ friends.
When COVID hit, Dan and Theresa started selling BBQ out of their driveway as a way to safely see friends and neighbors. Soon, creme brûlée, impossible to find in restaurants at the time, was added to the menu and then took it over completely, with flavors ranging from Vanilla to Cappuccino, Honey Lavender, Maple Bacon, Mexican Chocolate and even Rosewater.
As COVID wore on, Dan longed for a slower pace and the chance to provide Ben with a supportive, inclusive, welcoming childhood filled with green spaces like his own. One rented RV and 3000 miles later, that dream became a reality, and CremeBru.LA was the next step in the process.
The Amherst Farmer’s Market’s unique blend of commerce, community and quality has always held a special appeal for Dan; from childhood treats and trinkets to a mandatory stop for ingredients during visits to grandma and grandpa’s house.
Even the Common itself is a welcome reminder of countless fond memories - shaving cream fights at the town fair, practicing for Ultimate or hanging out with high school friends who went on to Amherst College. The common, like the Market and like the town, just feels like home to Dan.
CremeBru.LA is currently working with Atkins Farms, Mapleline farms and Hall Poultry Farm and is actively expanding their list of local suppliers and customers. The next dream is a retail location in downtown Amherst staffed (at least in part) with autistic employees.
New Year’s resolutions are a great opportunity to set goals and define your path over the upcoming months. However, many people approach resolutions all wrong. Making huge, sweeping resolutions isn’t likely to be effective. After all, when you’re resolving to change the big picture, it’s easy to ignore the little details. However, the details are ultimately what matters most.
In fact, resolutions based on the means — not the results — tend to be far more effective. For example, if you want to save money this year, your resolution shouldn’t be focused on a final figure — it should be based on savings per month or even week. When you hone in on the steps it takes to reach a goal, you give yourself a road map you can follow to success.
To that end, Amherst Farmers’ Market contributing author, Cheryl Conklin, has come up with this list of resolutions to help you meet your goals in 2021. Here are some small, simple changes you can make that — when done consistently — can have a big impact on your life:
Treating Food as Fuel
When it comes to treating our bodies right, it’s easy to fall into traps telling us we should deprive ourselves of the basic energy we need to survive. Although cutting back on junk food and eating appropriate serving sizes is always wise, if you exclusively focus your health efforts on minimizing food intake, you’re going to wind up harming yourself in the long run.
Instead, focus on thinking of food as fuel. This is a powerful mindset to take since it covers both food intake and energy usage. For example, you can start your morning with a healthy smoothie packed with nutrient-dense fruits and a results-boosting supplement powder. Then, use that powerful breakfast to fuel the day’s exercise — ideally, 30 or more minutes of moderate activity. Thinking of food this way helps you to focus on how to work with your body, not against it.
So that you always have the right type of fuel on hand, make thoughtful choices about what and where you buy your food. For example, in-season fruits and vegetables will taste better if you buy local at Amherst Farmers’ Market, and you’ll be supporting local farmers. You can also plot out your snacks and meals before you shop so that you can stick to clean eating.
20 Minutes of Tidying a Day
Did you know that being in a messy room makes you more anxious, even if you’re not consciously thinking about the mess? Whether we’re aware of it or not, our minds spend time processing the clutter around us — it’s almost like having unfinished to-do lists taped to all your surfaces. Tidying up for as little as 20 minutes every day can do wonders for keeping your space organized and stress-free.
If you’ve neglected to tidy for a while, however, you may want to kick things off with a big cleaning and reorganizing day. Not only will this put you on the right foot for keeping things in order, but it will also give you a chance to release any negative associations you’ve built up at home over the last year. Clean up, let in some air, and enjoy a fresh start for the new year.
Explore New Expressions of Faith
The last year was marked by strife, and though some people feel more connected to their spirituality during a crisis, others can start to feel a disconnect. Either reaction is normal, but the latter can be pretty distressing. If you’ve started to feel separated from your faith, resolve to explore a new expression of it on a weekly or monthly basis. These expressions could be anything from exploring a new form of prayer to taking up a challenging volunteer role.
The important part isn’t necessarily what you do. Instead, it is the act of putting yourself out there. We often find our faith in places we might not expect. When we explore opportunities to connect with God, we open ourselves up to receiving the message He wants us to hear.
Above all, allow 2021 to be a year you open yourself up to possibility, whether that’s the possibility of personal growth, community change, or a deeper relationship with God. When we are willing to change, the path forward often becomes clearer than we ever imagined.
Photo Credit: Pexels
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/
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.