Sigh… the 2010 PA Farm Show is officially over. It’s a little depressing, really. Who would’ve thought that a NYC girl like me would geek out so much over agriculture? I think living here in Central PA these last 9 1/2 years definitely had a lot to do with my agrarian shift, although sadly, anything I try to grow from seed ends up shriveling away. I guess I’ll keep working with fiber animal (and certain plant) byproducts.
Speaking of which, I am very, very remiss at posting this next bit. Last autumn, I visited a couple of wonderful alpaca farms during their Open House events with my family and friends, and had a blast. I highly recommend a visit to both:
The first one is Bent Pine Alpaca Farm, in Carlisle, PA. This is a great, family-friendly farm, with hay rides, food, seminars (I could listen to owner Darwin Kell talk about his business all day…), and,, of course, alpacas (and llamas!). We were allowed to visit some of the animals in one of the pastures, and the alpacas were so friendly – everywhere I turned, there was a photo op. See for yourself:
The second farm is Big Rock Alpaca Farm, in East Berlin, PA. Owners Allen and Kelly Stoner (actually, their whole family) are incredibly warm and welcoming, and we had an equally good time visiting their alpacas as we did visiting their store – good thing I know how to knit, or I would’ve done some serious damage to my bank account that day. We also met The Sock Lady, who had some really beautiful, hand-dyed socks for sale. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that day, but I plan on visiting again this year, so I’ll grab pictures then.
Naturally, there were some awesome alpacas being shown at the 2010 PA Farm Show. The 3 days I was there, it never failed – the crowds surrounding the alpacas were at least 5 rows deep. We waited our turn to visit some, and when we it was our turn, my daughter very naturally reached out and petted one on the neck, which is much preferred by the animal (and the owners) over the fluffy tufts on their heads. The owner we were chatting with explained that his animals were trained to accept head- and neck-pats from strangers… but what can I say, I was still proud of my girl for remembering her alpaca “manners”.
Know of any other good farms to visit? Let me know!