Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm
Set among huge oak trees and sprawling pasture, the Krystal Acres alpaca farm claims the largest herd in the San Juan Islands. Owned by Kris and Albert Olson, their 80-acre spread, near Friday Harbor, is home to an ever-growing herd of more than 70 of these gentle close relatives of the llama family. The farm warmly welcomes visitors to stroll the grounds daily, capturing those memorable moments on camera from their public viewing area, or to shop in their well stocked, unique Country Store. It is here you’ll discover the amazing versatility of alpaca fibre.
Its warmth is five times that of wool. It’s a strong and luxurious fibre with 22 natural shades, giving it the widest colour range of any animal fibre in the world. The Country Store provides a superb selection of coats, capes and ponchos, sweaters, soft alpaca toys, and soft furnishings for the home. If you feel like being creative and original, alpaca yarn is also available from their own herd, locally hand-dyed. Guided, educational tours are also provided – bookable one week in advance. The farm is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (April – December) and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (January – March). For more information, give them a call on (360)-378-6125 or visit www.krystalacres.com.
Luna Rosa Alpaca Ranch
Well established and in wonderful surroundings, the Luna Rosa alpaca ranch offers visitors a real “hands on” experience. You are actively encouraged to get up close and personal with these genteel creatures. Their Suri alpacas are so people friendly, they will come right up to the ranch deck to be hand fed. With their considerable experience, the ranch owners, Ed May and Robin Day offer professional advice and personal service for any wannabe alpaca breeders. Their breeding programme has been active since 1998, and the ranch is home to a small herd. For details and visiting times, please call (360)-378-3443.
Honey Lane Alpaca Farm
This delightful six-acre farm and studio near Friday Harbor is home to a small, friendly herd chosen purely for the quality of their fibre. The gentle creatures will wander up to you and feed from your outstretched hands. Situated at 289 Honey Lane, Friday Harbor, Marjory Puckett’s farm is also home to the 4-H Alpaca Club of San Juan Island.
This is a youth development and education program for 5-19 year olds. Alpacas are provided free of charge for the children, with a portion of the revenue generated by yarn sales, going towards maintaining the club. The farm’s speciality is alpaca yarn, and it has its own design studio producing a wide range of custom, and hand painted colours.
Honey Lane alpaca farm also designs and produces knitting patterns and kits, as well as skin care products and “weather sticks” – a traditional means of predicting the weather. By using speciality spinning mills to process the fibre, the farm is also able to produce a range of luxury custom yarn. For further information please visit www.honeylanefarms.com or call (360)-378-1895.
States Inn and Ranch
A few miles from Roche Harbor is the 62-acre States Inn and Ranch, a unique working ranch and B&B. Visitors and guests are invited to mingle with the livestock including its small and friendly herd of alpacas. Established since the 50s, the States Inn and Ranch offers fresh local produce from its farm store, and for overnight stop-overs, tastefully furnished rooms. For more details, call (360)-378-6240.
A versatile, warm and luxurious fibre from inquisitive, gentle and intelligent creatures. It’s little wonder that alpacas are widely adored by both children and adults alike. A visit to any of these farms and ranches will firmly reinforce that affection. Maybe, with some help and professional guidance, you might even want to start-up an alpaca farm of your own.