American Airline Magazine Features Martha's Vineyard and includes Island Alpaca in Island Must-See's!
Please visit the link here to view - click on photo to see slide show!
National Alpaca Photo Contest results in 10 big wins!!!
Staff member Ashleigh Plante was awarded the Judge's Choice. The best of the best! Also with big wins, Ivy Ashe, Heidi Wild, and Barbara Ronchetti Please visit the link here to see their best picks!
Phyllis Meras Book Signing, Thursday, August 9, 6-7:30 pm Was a big Success!
A former editor of the Vineyard Gazette, Phyllis Meras is a standard bearer for the natural beauty and values of the older island lifestyle, which she celebrated in her new book, "In Every Season: Memories of Martha's Vineyard," illustrated by artists Thomas Cocroft and Robert E. Schwarz. According to Phyllis, this books is about the eternal aspects of the Vineyard that should be cherished. Find her interview with Boston.com here.
Island Alpaca is in good company! Chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the Ten Can't Miss Things on Martha's Vineyard!
Island Alpaca was once again voted "The Best Children's Activities on Martha's Vineyard" 2012 along with the Flying Horses Carousel in Cape Cod Life Magazine, Best of the Vineyard! Click here for more details.
Our Fifthannual Island Alpaca Shearing Day, April 21, 2012, was a big success: Find a video, created by Ashleigh Plante here!
Watch for our Baby Alpaca Shearing Day coming this August, 2012~ Our Sixth Annual Shearing Day will be scheduled for early May, 2013. Sign up for our mailing list on our home page for an email reminder!
2012 North American Alpaca Show was a Huge Success!(Video created by Ashleigh Plante)
The 2012 North American Alpaca Show in West Springfield, MA was well attended with over 1,000 alpaca competing. Alpaca shows are fun and informative. One can learn about alpacas, from alpaca husbandry to purchasing a top-quality alpaca! As an alpaca owner, you can watch or participate in shows such as Halter class, Showmanship class and Performance class.
Estrada's Lucca of Island Alpaca took First Place in his class of Fawn Yearlings of 12 other alpaca!
Island Alpaca Farm Helps Red Stocking again this year!
This holiday season, Island Alpaca farm will be, once again, collecting donations of gifts for needy children, or non-perishable foods (value of $10 or more) at the farm, now until December 24. Bring your unwrapped gift, or buy one at the Island Alpaca Farm Store. Last years Gift-Drive was a huge success! Island Alpaca received from a generous donor, Sue Hruby, a brand new bicycle for one lucky recipient, and from Lori Perry, an arm-load full or new Clifford the Red Dog Clothing.
With every donation, Island Alpaca will enter a ticket to win two $50 gift certificates to the Island Alpaca Gift Shop. Drawings for the winners will be held on December 24, 2011
Red Stocking helps the needy on the island. Close to 300 children from more than 175 families receive food and gifts through the Red Stocking Fund, and the list grows every year. Confidentiality is critical to the operation. Parents provide a list of their children's most-needed clothing and hoped-for toys. Each child is then assigned an identification number that allows volunteers to match the right gift packages with the right people. Each package includes several major items of clothing, such as a jacket or sweater, in addition to socks, hats, mittens, and toys.
In mid-December a group of volunteers gathers in the Parish Hall and Nave of Grace Church to begin wrapping gifts, making sure that children waking up on Christmas morning find colorful packages adorned with ribbons and bows.
Hope Everyone had a Happy Halloween!
A special greeting from our alpaca "Hottie" and one Smokin' AlpacaPumpkin,meticulously carved by Island Alpaca staff member, Ashleigh Plante
Vermi-Composting & Vermiculture Workshop: Saturday, October 22, 10-3 pm
Island Cooperative Compost Projects features a hands-on Workshop: Building Windrows: Backyard and Beyond. Bring pitchfork, boots, leaves, food scraps, and friends. Refreshments, meal to follow, pot-luck Welcome. Pre-register online: here!
Island Alpaca Attends Living Local Harvest Fest: October 1, 2011
Fun was had by all.. Please find a video of some highlights here! Of some added interest was the introduction to the introduction of the Martha's Vineyard Compost Project, spearheaded by Philippe Morin, Chris and BZ Riger. For more info or to particpate in their effort, visit thier site here.
Island Alpaca Wins Again! AOBA 2011 National Conference Photo Contest:
Island Alpaca at the 150th Anniversary, Agricultural Fair Parade! Watch ithere!
Island Alpaca @ the Cinema Circus!!
We invite you to share in the excitment of the Cinema Circus this year in Chilmark!
Visit this link here to view some wonderful images of this very special event!
Multiple Blues Won @ the 150th Agricultural Fair!
Our Big winners: Philippe Morin: Two First Places for his hand spun yarn and machine knitted scarf, andSecond Place for Herbs; Karen Malizia:First Place for her dog sweater, Two First Place baby sweaters; Judy Foss: Three Third Places for her scarves and hat; Jean Stern: First Place for her sweater, Second Placefor her scarf; Barbara Morrison:Third Place for her sweater; Island Alpaca:Second Place for their pumpkins; Robin Watson:First Place for her felted soap.
Island Alpaca Attends Fall and Spring Shows:
The Eastern States Exposition "The Big E" Sept-October, 2012, North American Alpaca Show at the Eastern States Expo Center, West Springfield, Massachusetts, April, 2012 and the Northeast Alpaca Expo, at the Empire Exposition Center (New York State Fairgrounds), Syracuse, NY 13209, April-May, 2012
Melanie Bosco, age 10 of Kensington, CT, creates a "Smile Box" for Island Alpaca
Island Alpaca -- Fourth Annual Baby Alpaca (Cria) Shearing, Thursday, July 28, 2011 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Bring the family to our next baby alpaca shearing day event, when we shear our newest members of the herd. Meet the cutest of the bunch up close, and enjoy the day with island friends. Experience the fleece to fiber transition first-hand. Observe the expert shearers as they work their clippers through tthe alpacas fabulous fleece without any harm to the animals. You may also purchase the yarn from any specific farm animal, as our store will be open all day! For those interested in the alpaca lifestyle, this event will enable you to understand better the alpaca investment, and ask questions about how to best get started, setting up farm facilities, alpaca nutrition, herd management, financing and what to do with all that fabulous fleece! Ongoing video presentation, refreshements. Admission: $5 per person. See you at the farm!
Save that date: April, 2012, Island Alpaca Farm "Birthing and Neonatal Seminar"
Island Alpaca is proud to host another Neonatal Clinic with Dr Cheryl DeWitt, one of the most respected camelid vetrinarians in the United States. Our most recent seminar with Dr. DeWitt was a huge success, one breeder even saying it was "worth a million bucks"! The seminar is a must-have for all future breeders, experienced breeders and vetrinarians. Other livestock breeders will certainly benefit from this seminar.
Enjoy a morning lecture with presentations, on female reproduction/breeding; reproductive anatomy/physiology, breeding/pregnancy diagnosis options, gestational development and much more! Afternoon wet-lab using uterine simulators, will challenge registrants to diagnose the contents of the uterus, discuss a proposed delivery plan, identify and correct dystocias to deliver the cria safely.
Invaluable emergency training, and a lot of fun! Some of our guests comments: "Very informative lecture. Excellent wet lab" -- "Food was very good, and staff was excellent.""Class was worth a million-when it came time to correct my first dystocia!"
Course-book and breakfast and lunch provided. Class size very limited. 9:30 am-6 pm. Course fee will include course book. Workshop fee is refundable should the attendee purchase alpacas or breedings to any of Island Alpaca fully owned herd sires.
Island Alpaca Second Annual Alpaca Birthday Challenge Winner:
Grace McElhiney - Guessed the correct birtday of our first alpaca of 2011.... to alpaca Nightingale!
Island Artist Rose Treat Visits Island Alpaca
Rose visited Island Alpaca and met our very social "Il Bacio" (the kiss) with her sister Mrs. Lohman from Virginia, and husband, and her niece Debbie Lohman from New York. Rose Treat has deveoped a visual art made from seaweed. Her collages are in the permanent collections of many institutions including Havard University, the Smithsonian, and the Vineyard Museum. Read more about Rose in the Vineyard Gazette online here and The Martha's Vineyard Times here. For more information on here work here,
Find a short videohere: Our Raffle Winners: Andrew Bolton: Alpaca Blanket, Geri Cecilio: $50 Gift Certificate, Jack Lavin: Alpaca Toy/or Gift Certificate, Nina Davis: Alpaca Socks/or Gift Certificate. Thank you all for attending, and a special thanks to all or our wonderful volunteers!
Island Alpaca Third Annual Alpaca Birthday Challenge -- Get ready.. we are breeding the alpaca now for our crop of 2012 babies... Breeding dates for our first five females are coming soon.
Win a $100 gift certificate to shop online, or in our farm store. Simply be one of the two closest to guess the day and time, and which alpaca will be the first to have their baby this year! (Alpaca names are listed with their due dates in Hint #2). It is easy to enter. Simply send to us by email (or snail mail, or visit our farm) with your full name, your age if under 18, and email address so we can call you on the babies birthday, should you be the lucky winner, then your guess: We need the alpacas name who you think will be the first to give birth, the day, date, and the time (please specify am or pm), and just for fun, if you think it will be a male or a female! Here are three hints: Hint #1: Most, alpacas give birth in the morning, or early afternoon. Hint #2: See Projected Birthday Listhere.Hint #3: Average gestation is 11 to 11-1/2 months.
Island Alpaca to Visited Lexington with Alpaca for May-Day Celebration!
Thank you to all who attended on Sunday, May 1, for this special Linger in Lexington, Revolutionary Revelry* event to include many family-friendly activities. Island Alpaca took along two of their friendly herd-favorites from Martha's Vineyard donning their new haircuts, Dom Perignon (AKA, Cocoa) and Moshup. They also featured many locally grown, handmade on-island products, such as sweaters, hats, gloves and socks, including a few items from Peru. Also enjoyed were Maypole dancing, an antique car show, a running scavengar hunt, May-Day baskets, beading, face-painting and much more! Find us again next year in Depot Square, just off Massachusetts Avenue, in downtown Lexington from 1 to 4 pm! *Revolutionary Revelry is a dynamic month-long festival celebrating the arts, culture, and recreation throughout Lexington. To learn more visit their website, www.tourlexington.us. Barbara Ronchetti, of Island Alpaca farm is a former resident of Lexington.
Island Alpaca Co. was a proud sponsor of Cape & Islands NPR, Pledge Drive, May 2011
Island Alpaca Co. offered our finely woven alpaca blankets made from the soft natural fibers of the alpaca. This is a very nice, versatile and useful garment for those making a $250 contribution. Whether used as a throw over your couch, or on your bed for a warm nights sleep, there is simply no comparison with other natural or synthetic fibers. Alpaca is a rare, luxurious, specialty fiber because of its unique properties, softness, luster, lightness, durability and warmth. No other animal has fiber that can combine all these properties. Listen for further details. Find WCAI on your dial @ 90.1, 91.1 and 94.3. To support NPR and get your alpaca throw with your special contribution, call 508-548-9600 or visit their website here.
Alpaca's Visit the State House, March 22, 2011:
FOX NEWS Channel 13-Boston Featured Island Alpaca Moshup, and Dom Perignon on March 22 pm, hosted by Barbara Ronchetti and Phoenix Russell of Island Alpaca... Newscast appeared on the Tuesday, March 22 evening broadcast and twice the following day) -- Our goal: The White House lawn! Video can be found on our homepage.
Very upbeat messages were delivered at this year's Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism, organized by MOTT and sponsored, in part, by the Cape Cod Chamber. Research and trends indicate a movement toward pre-recession business activity for the hospitality industry. A prediction of 2-3% growth for the industry was well accepted by those in the room, many reporting strong advance bookings.
Chairwomen Eileen Donoghue (Senate) and Sarah Peake (House) spoke to several hundred industry people at the Governor's Conference reception at the State House on Tuesday, expressing their support for adequate tourism promotion resources and thanking the industry for its local job creation. Senator Dan Wolf, Reps Turner and Vieira also were at the event, as participants in the Tourism Arts & Culture Development Committee. Pictured in photo: Senator Eileen Donoghue, Chamber CEO Wendy Northcross, Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Dan Wolf)
Fun Fact from our State Legislature on Travel and Tourism: Every $1 spent on travel marketing returns $5 to the state and local communities in the form of taxes (payroll, property, meals & lodging.)
Thank you for Joining us for Healthy Kids Day, April 9 from 11 am-2 pm:
Join Island Alpaca at the YMCA in Oak Bluffs for Healthy Kids Day. It was three hours of fun and sunshine to include pony rides and meet and greet the Island Alpaca! Arts and crafts, basketball, swimming and clinics for healthy teeth and more! Rain or Shine. For more information, contact the YMCA at 508-696-7171 or click on image below.
February 12 and 13, 2011, Island Alpaca Farm Brings home the Blues... and a Champion Banner from the Empire Alpaca Association Fleece Event and Fiber Symposium in New York
Once again, our well decorated herd sire, CT Estrada "takes the cake", so to speak, winning a first place blue ribbon position in his age group, for fawn, was awarded the highly coveted Championship(all age groups), in a class of 36 alpaca, all but three alpaca, were younger competitors, an overwhelming challenge for older alpacas. Our grey herd sire, Magic's Talon, also takes home a blue ribbon, as a 5+ year old alpaca! At the Empire Fiber Arts competition, Island Alpaca had submitted the craftwork of a number of local artists, and the results again were fabulous; recipients of five additional first-place blue ribbons were: for hand-knit hat, Anna Marie D'Addarie, for best hand-spun yarn, Philippe Morin, for crocheted assessories, alpaca booties by Evelyn Ronchetti, a head-band, handmade by Luise Ronchetti, and finally Estrada and Angelina, mill-spun yarn by Sallies Fen Fibers. Congratulations to all! (and thank you Phoenix Russell our "blue-ribbon" handler!)
Save that date:April, 2012, Island Alpaca Farm: Fifth Annual Shearing Day Festival
Bring the family to our next shearing, when we will shear over 50 alpaca. Meet the alpaca and enjoy a day with island friends. Experience the fleece to fiber transition first-hand. Ongoing alpaca video presentation. Observe the expert shearers as they work their clippers through the alpacas fabulous fleece, without any harm to the animal. You may also purchase the yarn from specific Island Alpaca Farm animals, as our farm store will be open all day! For those interested in the alpaca lifestyle, this event will enable you to understand better the alpaca investment, and ask questions about how to best get started, setting up farm facilities, alpaca nutrition and herd management, financing, and what to do with all that fabulous fleece! Click here: Alpaca Farm Shearing Day, to see some photos from last ears event! You can also see our first annual cria-shearing event on our site here.Refreshments and door prizes! Admission: $5/person. Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm. We hope you can join us!
Plum TV Features Island Alpaca! Watch the video here!
December, 2010:Island Alpaca Farm Gift-Drive for the Red Stocking Fund ...Was a huge success. Congrats to our gift certificate winners! Island Alpaca Farm for The Red Stocking Fund: Winners Announced Island Alpaca and the Red Stocking Fund would like to thank the many generous individuals for their gifts in support of the alpaca farms first annual collection. The gifts were quite varied and numerous; Ms. Sue Hruby delivered a shiny, new bicycle for a deserving child. And Laurie Perry brought in an arm-load full of new Clifford the Red Dog Clothing for children. The gift givers were entered in a drawing to win Island Alpaca Gift Certificates.
With every donation, Island Alpaca entered a ticket to win either a $100 or $50 gift certificate to the Island Alpaca Farm Gift Shop. Drawings for the winners revealed Marsha Winsryg as the winner of our $100 gift certificate, and Laurie Perry as the $50 winner.
Close to 300 children from over 175 families have received food and gifts through the Red Stocking Fund, and the list grows every year. Confidentiality is critical to the operation. Parents provide a list of their children's most needed clothing and hoped for toys; each child is then assigned an identification number that allows volunteers to match the right gift packages with the right people. Each package includes several major items of clothing, like a jacket or sweater, in addition to socks, hats, mittens, and toys.
Groups of volunteers gathered in the Parish Hall and Nave of Grace Church to wrap gifts, making sure that children waking up on Christmas morning would have colorful packages adorned with ribbons and bows.
Many thanks to all that participated this year!
October 22, 2010 - Martha's Stewart Show features Alpaca
The Martha Stewart Show has aired a segment about alpacas filmed in NY. Click HERE to view.
Martha Stewart's crew spent two days filming a wide variety of scenes including feeding and care, shearing, and the creation of an alpaca garment from fleece to finished product. Faraway Farm's owners were interviewed about alpaca history, breeding, fiber characteristics and what it is like to raise alpacas. Quarry Ridge Alpacas, demonstrated carding, spinning and knitting.
October 13, 2010 - It's for the Birds!
With the assistance of an avid birder, Joeseph F. Malachowski, Island Alpaca was happy to know that the habitat at the farm is very welcoming to many species of birds. In less than one hour, the following birds were spotted: American Crow (10 mobbing), Red Tail Hawk, two Osprey "Fly-Over", Yellow Rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Mocking Bird, Blue Birds, (both male and female) a Flicker was heard, Carolina Wren, Four Mourning Doves, Kill Deer (15 in our parking area), Rock Doves, and Swallows. Island Alpaca welcomes all birders!
September 29, 2010 - Big E. Champion & Blue Ribbon Alpaca
Island Alpaca is very proud to announce their success at the Alpaca Show at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield - with five alpaca in tow, Island Alpaca returned home with a number of winning banners. Three blues ribbons, and a Championship. Island Alpaca "Lunette" was awarded the best out of sixteen alpaca in the "Bred and Owned class" competing with many other Blue-Riboon winners, the best of the best!
September 2010: January "Cover Girls!"Winning Photo of Island Alpaca appears on State Calendar... again!
The photographs of Barbara Ronchetti of Island Alpaca Co., and former employee, Heather Welch, have recently been chosen as the winners in a state-wide competition the 2010 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Both images will be published in the 2010 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar.
The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The ceremonies took place on "Massachusetts Day" at the Massachusetts Building at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield. Copies of the calendar are available for purchase on our website and in our farm store.
September, 2010 - Congratulations to the Winners!
...to our Mailing List Entrants for Summer, 2010: Paul Mc Laughlin, Brooke Harris, and Mick and Karen Anderson - You have are the winners of an Island Alpaca Gift Certificate: Please reply to our email with your snail mail address.
August, 2010 - Island Alpaca Fiber Update: Micron Matters
People are often asking, What is "baby" alpaca? What is superfine? How do you know? What makes a quality-alpaca breeding program? The quality of an alpaca, and the fiber they produce can be easily measured by the fineness of the alpaca. This is determined by the diameter of the individual hair follicle, measured in microns. The lower the number, the more desirable and soft the fleece will be. The following can be considered an industry standard: Royal Alpaca 19-20 micron - Baby Alpaca 22-23 micron Superfine: 25-26.5 micron - Vicuna 11-14 micron (finest of all Camelids)
Fineness is the primary determinant of fleece value. Breeders aim for producing 19 to 22-micron fleece. A lofty goal, and not easy to achieve on a herd-wide basis. Other important fiber characteristics are density of fleece, crimp, uniformity of micron, staple length and luster. Here at Island Alpaca we test many of our alpaca's micron, by sending in a fleece sample to the Fiber Testing Laboratories: We have found the most desirable results in the industry. Here are just a few: Estrada's Pelegrina (sold), Beige, 14 micron - Estrada's Marco, Beige, 14.1- Estrada's Lucca, Light Fawn, 14.6 - Estrada's Il Tesoro, Light Fawn, 14.6 - Estrada's Marcella, Medium Brown, 14.9 - Estrada's Hanne, Light Brown, 15.3 - Estrada's Bianca (sold), White, 15.9 - Estrada's Siena, Light Brown, 16- Estrada's Teodoro, Brown, 16.6 - Estrada's Zambrotta, Light Fawn, 16.7 - Estrada's Arabella, Light Brown 16.8. Island Alpaca Farm -- Breeding for Excellence!
Summer, 2010 Island Alpaca Participates in Edgartown Parade
This year, with the help of Phoenix Russell, and our volunteer, Alex Vaughn, our alpacas Dom Perignon and Moshup caravaned along Main Street in full gala!
August, 2010 -- Island Alpaca has theBluesagain...Using our Island Alpaca Co. yarns, many of our talented knitter have won!
Karen Malizia,Blue Ribbon for Knitting: Infants sweater set Karen Malizia,Blue Ribbon for Knitting: Childs-wear, 2 pieces or more Donna Rassier, Blue Ribbon for Crochet Toy (Toy alpaca made with superfine alpaca yarn) Evelyn Ronchetti,Blue Ribbon for Crochet: Infant Set, (baby booties and hat) Luise Ronchetti, Blue Ribbon for Knitting: Hat Adult/Child, ( brown & white striped)
Julie Wheeler,Blue Ribbon for Feltwork (Felted brim hat)
Judy Foss, Red ribbon for hat (adult or child) Karen Malizia, Red Ribbbon for knitting: infants sweater, 2 pieces or more -made with c Karen Malizia, Red Ribbbon for knitting: childs sweater, fancy stitch Karen Malizia, Red Ribbbon for knitting: childs sweater, color pattern (Fawn & white alpaca yarn) Laura Busky, Red Ribbon for weaving: alpaca woven triangle shawl with fringes. Holly Williams, Red Ribbon for Handicraft -Glass works, glass alpaca pendant. Evelyn Ronchetti, Red Ribbon for Crochet Hat. ( Alpaca "JJ")
July, 2010. Island Alpaca Fiber to Gulf
Alpacas are green, very green. Not only are they the most environmentally friendly lawn-mowers and great suppliers of some of the best organic fertilizer, the alpaca fiber can literally absorb oil and allow clean water to pass through. Booms are being made with alpaca fiber stuffed into nylons as well as felted alpaca mats. The alpaca fleece is most desirable because, since it is hollow-cored fiber, it is very boyant. Once the oil is absorbed, oyster mushrooms are applied to break up the oiled booms and mats, and then earthworms finish up the job, turning a harmful substance into glorious dirt. To learn more about this program, you can visit this organizations website: www.matteroftrust.org to learn all the details of this ingenious oil spill clean up method. And fellow fiber farmers, send in your unused fiber. Recycle those empty grain bags! You can also visit this LINK HERE to see a video about alpaca fiber collection, from National Geographic, and a LINK HERE to watch a video about the absorbancy rate verses a conventional boom.
Pictured on the right is a boom made with hair (left side), vs. a convetional boom(on the right).
It's a Boy! Island Alpaca Farm Birthday-Challenge Winners Announced
Joan Hewson of Edgartown and Tonya Thomas also of Edgartown, both correctly guessed that Island Alpaca "Margeaux" would be the first alpaca this year to give birth out of twenty pregnant females, and were the closest to predict the actual arrival time. The winning birthdate was Saturday, May 8. Both Joan and Tonya had guessed that the arrival time would be at 11:30 am, however "Margeaux" surprised the farm with their first-ever evening baby, arriving at 6:30 pm, a healthy, 15.6 pound dark rose-grey boy with light-grey socks and ears.
Both Joan and Tonya will be awarded each a $50 gift certificate to Island Alpaca farm. Theirs were two of nearly 150 entries in the Farms Birthday-Challenge, with 18 other individuals that correctly guessed "Margeaux" would be the first, and one other, Genny Abbot that guessed "Margeaux" along with the the winning day.
The newborn is now up to 16.8 pounds, and is one lively little guy. The public is invited to meet him, and welcome him into the herd. Ten additional new arrivals are expected this month, and we hope that the public will be able to witness a few afternoon births, as the farm is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.
April 24, 2010, Island Alpaca Farm: Third Annual Shearing Day Festival was a big hit!
A beautiful sunny day, with a host of friendly staff, family, and friends, and a lot of advance preparation, Island Alpaca sheared a total of 67 alpaca. (Included in the mix were a number of other alpaca belonging to other islanders, and to some owners who currently board their alpaca at the farm.) The Best's, from New Hampshire were at hand shearing the alpaca, with assistants Cody Fifield of New Mexico, James Grady and Steve Phillips of New Hampshire and Maine. Other helpers were Charles Ronchetti, trimming 536 toenails, Nancy Ronchetti and Neil Hartery and Douglas Touart sorting and bagging fleece as it was shorn, and Kathleen Byrnes weighing and documenting fleece. Evelyn Ronchetti kept the area clean and clear so that the fleece was kept separate. Sue Currier, Phoenix Russell, and Philippe Morin, prepping and delivering the alpaca, Sandy D'Amico and "Ba" Dutton and as our hosts, and Louise Ronchetti, knitting, Heather Welch welcoming visitors to the store, and Caila Morin and Tonya Thomas welcoming visitor at the entrance. Pat Waring and Toni Chute helped with the food, and finally Mike Tullos served the role of "farm photographer" for the day.
In just under 8 working hours, roughly 7 minutes per alpaca. to yield over three hundred pounds of fleece, much of which is destined to go to a New Hampshire fiber mill this week, for processing into our yarns that we will sell in our farm store, and offer to local knitters to produces clothing and accessories for our store. And the rest, to the local alpaca fiber cooperative to produce many of our socks, gloves, hats and scarves.
The farm also had door prizes as we do every year. Winner of the Island Alpaca blanket is Rose Cecil of Edgartown, and Megan Wiener of Cumberland, RI won a gift certificate, and Missy Willoughby of Edgartown, won the Alpaca stuffed toys.
Click here: Alpaca Farm Shearing Day, to see some photos from last ears event! You can also see our first annual cria-shearing event on our site here.
Bring the family to our next shearing, when we do our newest alpaca babies. Scheduled for August, 2010 (date to be determined). Meet the alpaca and enjoy a day with island friends. For those interested in the alpaca lifestyle, this event will enable you to understand better the alpaca investment, and ask questions about how to best get started, setting up farm facilities, alpaca nutrition and herd management, financing, and what to do with all that fabulous fleece! Experience the fleece to fiber transition first-hand. Ongoing alpaca video presentation. Observe the expert shearers as they work their clippers through the alpacas fabulous fleece, without any harm to the animal. You may also purchase the yarn from specific Island Alpaca Farm animals, as our farm store will be open all day! Refreshments available. Admission: $5/person. We hope you can join us!
March 2010, Singing the Blues... Again!
Four Blue Ribbon, First Place Awards and Judges Choice! at the MOPACA Invitational Alpaca Show.
Once again, Island Alpaca Co. is very proud to work with many of our country's best knitters and spinners, and offer products, hand-crafted from the following artists. We also feature many other talented individuals not entered in this competition. Stop by for a visit to see for yourself! Felted Category, Felted Hat by Julie Wheeler, from Island Alpaca yarn. Novelty Yarn Skein, Yarn produced from Island Alpaca "Noepe". (Judges Choice @ 100 Points!) Hand-Knit Booties, Yarn produced from Island Alpaca "Captain Jack", by Sue Larsen Hand-Spun Yarn, Two-ply, by Philippe Morin. (Red Ribbon) Hand-Knit Baby Layette/Sweater Set, (sweater, hat, & booties) crafted by Karen Malizia. Congratulations to all!
NEW: BABY ALERTS!
MANY Alpaca Births expected this Spring and Summer!! Please view our Projected Birthday Listhere. to learn who is due, and when! This year, Island Alpaca hopes to send an email alert to those that wish to be contacted when there is a new birth on the way, or when a new baby has just arrived. If you want to be on our Baby Alert list, please join our group Island Alpaca on Facebook!
Island Alpaca First Annual Alpaca Birthday Challenge!
Win a $100 gift certificate to shop online, or in our farm store. Simply be the one to be the closest to guess the day and time, and which alpaca will be the first to have their baby this year! (Alpaca names are listing in Hint #2). It is easy to enter. Simply send to us by email (or snail mail) your full name, age, if under 18, and telephone number so we can call you on the babies birthday, should you be the lucky winner, then your guess: We need the alpacas name who you think will be the first to give birth, the day, date, and the time (please specify am or pm), and just for fun, if you think it will be a male or a female! Here are three hints: Hint #1: Most, alpacas give birth in the morning, or early afternoon. Hint #2: See Projected Birthday List from above, in Baby Alert Section. Hint #3: Average gestation is 11 to11-1/2 months.
February 14, 2010, Island Alpaca Herd Sire, Estrada, Wins Big in Texas... Yee-Haw!
Our well decorated herdsire Estrada, won again, not only in his age group, of mature males, but took the big win in the entire color class of all ages, at the 2010 TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular Spin-off Competition! He was judged the best of fifteen other alpaca, even the youngest of animals! Up against some stiff competition! What an accomplishment! Bravo Estrada!
April 24, 2010, Island Alpaca Farm: Third Annual Shearing Day Open House
It is Official... Date confirmed! Mark your calendars for this remarkable event that will feature some of the areas finest alpacas. Over 50 alpacas are scheduled for shearing and public viewing. Bring the family for an hour of fun, and education. At this Open House event you will meet the alpaca and enjoy a day with island friends. Learn more about this special day on our Workshop's & Events Page.
April 10, 2010, Farm Sponsors Birthing and Neonatal Seminar
Island Alpaca is proud to host a Neonatal Clinic with Dr Cheryl DeWitt, one of the most respected camelid vetrinarians in the United States. This seminar is a must-have for all future breeders, experienced breeders and vetrinarians. Other livestock breeders will certainly benefit from this seminar.
Enjoy a morning lecture with presentations, on female reproduction/breeding; reproductive anatomy/physiology, breeding/pregnancy diagnosis options, gestational development and much more! Afternoon wet-lab using uterine simulators, will challenge registrants to diagnose the contents of the uterus, discuss a proposed delivery plan, identify and correct dystocias to deliver the cria safely.
Invaluable emergency training, and a lot of fun!
Course-book and breakfast and lunch provided. Class size very limited. 9:30 am-6 pm. $250, and $225 for additional participants from the same farm-(one course-book). The price of the workshop is refundable should the attendee purchase alpacas or breedings to any of Island Alpaca fully owned herd sires.
For information and registration, clickhere. Seminar may be repeated on 04/11/2010. Please inquire.
It's Show-Time for Island Alpaca Farm; Our 2010 Schedule...watch for updates!
This year, Island Alpaca is very excited to bring the best of the best to a few of the many alpaca shows in and around New England. Alpaca shows are a terrific way to learn about owning and breeding alpaca, or to attend seminars that are often held at the shows. Please look for us in the farm display and stall-areas of the following shows to meet our own personal show-stoppers. If you know you will be attending one of the shows, you can call us for our cell numbers for easier contact. See you in the ring! Island Alpaca 2010 Show/Fair Schedule:
Please know that we at Island Alpaca have the highest respect for these wonderful animals, and do not advocate putting an alpaca on a surfboard.Click image to watch video.Pianezzi, the alpacas owner and surfer, had slowly introduced his alpaca to the water over the past several months, and that despite criticism from people who say that it is cruel to put a mountain-dwelling animal in the sea, Pianezzi, who has trained dogs to surf for over a decade, says that Pisco the alpaca is getting used to the water. "The pet is slowly mastering the art of surfing although has a tendency to dive headlong into the sea once they get going - but fortunately he wears a lifejacket."
November 14, 2009, Winters Farmer's Market a Big Hit: Island Alpaca Attends
Click here to see read the full story in the Martha's Vineyard Gazette. Next winter market, December 13, 2009.
October 2009, Island Alpaca Visits Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
Island Alpaca Farm was invited for a return visit, to introduce our alpaca to those who were not able to visit our farm. Our alpacas "Moshup" and "Simba's Kingsley" were well received with the help of Phoenix Russell, and Philippe Morin.
October 2-4, Big Wins @ the Big E
Island Alpaca Farm once again walks away with not just one
Championship, but two!
Our male, CT Estrada, does not cease to amaze us. This year he won, in a class of 2+year olds, and he, just a few days before his third birthday. (Estrada, being the oldest in his class by no less than 9 months!). QR Madigan, also wins, a Reserve Championship.
August 2009, Awaiting a visit from the Obama's
Click here to see Island Alpaca representative, Phoenix Russell, at the West Tisbury Farmer's market, in anticipation of their visit!
August 2009, Alpaca & Knitters Awarded Blues for Fiber Arts in the Agricultural Fair!
Thanks to the many talented Fiber Artists at Island Alpaca, Island Alpaca Farm won many ribbons, 14 blues in total!
BLUES: Karen Malizia, with three blues: "Child Sweater, Color Pattern", for "Infant Sweater Set, 2 pieces+", and for "Gloves". Jane Stern, two blue ribbons: "Plain sweater" and "Baby Cardigan". Judy Foss with four blues: "Infant Sweater", again for "Fancy Stitch", and for "Childs Vest", and finally for "Knit Scarf". Julie Wheeler with two blues for her felted Alpaca hat, and felted item (also a hat.)
Congratulations to all of our other ribbon winners, Anna Marie D'Addarie, Marlene Distephano, Sarah Gillig, Diane Oster, and Luise Ronchetti.
BLUES: Additional blues given to our prized female, Archangel's Arias, for her fleece, and for our attending alpaca, Marle a blue, and best in show, and Ansel, both males.
June, 2009, Island Alpaca Does it Again:
Five Blue Ribbon/First Place Awards at the Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association National Fiber Arts/World Conference
Island Alpaca Co. is very proud to represent some of our country's best knitters and spinners, and offer products hand-crafted from these following artists. We also feature many other talented individuals not entered in this competition. We hope you can visit our farm to truly appreciate their work. Felted Category, Hand-Knit Mittens by Anna Marie D'Addarie. Novelty Skein, Island Alpaca fiber from Island Alpaca "Jackpot". Hand-Knit Scarf, by Diane Oster, using Island Alpaca Suri-alpaca, "Marle" yarn. Hand-Spun Yarn, Two-ply, by Philippe Morin. Hand-Knit Baby Layette/Sweater Set, (sweater, hat, & booties) crafted using Island Alpaca "Pietro", by Karen Malizia. Congratulations to all!
New Cria on the Block, May 2, 2009
Welcoming our first alpaca of the season. A healthy, sprite, grey female (the Islands first grey cria) out of our "Margeaux" and "Magic's Talon" (The first offspring for both) Here she is less than 1-hour old. Visit our photo gallery for more images! Margeaux has proven to be a very attentive mom from the start. (Special notice: Margeaux is for sale with her cria at her side. Please visit Margeaux's page to learn more.)
The Results Are In: April 25 & 26, 2009
Island Alpaca takes a Res. Championship and a Blue Ribbon for Estrada's Fleece at the MAPACA (Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Show) in Pennsylvania. FIVE additional Blues were earned for our fiber-art entries! Our herd sire, "Estrada"ceases to amaze us; this was his 15th blue ribbon and 4th championship banner. Anna Marie D'Addarie, with her hand-knit, Island Alpaca Felted Mittens, with 91 out of a possible 100 points! Judith Foss, and her hand-knit, Island Alpaca Grey Vest, made out of Zora and Ansel's yarn, again, 91 out of a possible 100 points. Philippe Morin, Hand-spun Yarn, Island Alpaca Samuel Bellamy 100% Alpaaca Yarn, Mill Spun, Island Alpaca Pietro 80% Alpaca & 20% Silk Yarn, Mill Spun, scoring a 93 points out of a possible 100!
Shear Delight: April 25, 2009
Island Alpaca extends a generous "Thank You" to all that attended our Second Annual Alpaca Shearing Day, Saturday, April 25, 2009.
Shearing Day at Island Alpaca was a huge success. On a beautifully warm, sunny day we sheared over 40 alpaca. They were thrilled with the work of our expert team, and are now cool and comfortable creatures pronking in our pastures! Thank you to all of the people that attended and made it such a fun event! Please find coverage on the event, along with a video-clip on our good friends, The Martha's Vineyard Times Site.
A very special thanks to our shearers, Matt and Jozi Best, our many volunteers, friends, and staff members for their assistance; Kathleen Byrnes, Toni Chute, Anna Marie D'Addarie, Sandy D'Amico, Barbara Dutton, Luke Eldridge Bartkus, Philippe, Annabelle Grob, Johanna Leazott, Caila and Mael Morin, Charles and Luise Ronchetti, Ralph Stewart, Douglas Touart, Phoenix Russell, Pricilla Sinatra, Pat Waring, Heather Welch, and Erica Wilkinson. We are forever grateful, and could not have done it without you!
Shearing Fun Facts: Alpacas are shorn just once a year in the Spring. Typically each alpaca produces up to 10 pounds of fiber depending on age, genetics, environment and nutrition. Alpacas can be shorn standing up or stretched out on the ground or a table. We prefer to stretch them out, tying the front legs together and the back legs together. This method allows the shearer to work faster and get a more even cut, it is less stressful for the alpaca this way. Shearing time varies greatly by the expertise of the shearer, but generally 10 minutes per animal is standard. Alpacas are shorn with the same clippers that are used for sheep. Blades have to be sharpened and oiled often. Because alpacas don't have natural lanolin oils like sheep, the clippers need to be oiled more frequently. We hope you can join us for our Third Annual Shearing Day in 2010!
February 6-8,2009:Island Alpaca has the Blues!
This year, Island Alpaca participated in the 2009 Symposium and Fleece Event in Syracuse NY, by submitting two of our alpaca fleeces or "blankets" (the prime fibers shorn from the alpacas back), as well as some of our locally-made yarn products. Our success continues with our show entries, as we were very proud to be awarded blue ribbons for each our fleece submissions; our alpacas CT Estrada, and Angelina. Fleece is judged for fineness and handle, its brightness, crimp and density as well as lack of medulation and cleanliness. What was most amazing is this is the third blue ribbon Estrada has taken home for this past years fleece alone, making it his thirteenth blue ribbon! We were also awarded a blue ribbon for a hand-spun skein by Philippe Morin, a blue ribbon for a pair of Island Alpaca yarn-felted mittens by Anna Marie D'Addarie, and yet another blue ribbon for a baby sweater set made with Island Alpaca "Pietro" yarn, hand-knit by Karen Malizia. Congratulations to all!
December 2008: Gift Certificate Contest Winners
Island Alpaca Farm is happy to announce two lucky winners this year. Instead of the planned one winner, for our $100 Gift Certificate Holiday Drawing for those that have signed on to our E-Club, E-Newsletter List. Randi Lee Hadley of Vineyard Haven (shown on the right with Island Alpaca herd member "Hottie") was the first winner selected randomly from the drawing. Randi Hadley is a private cook and personal assistant on Island, with over twenty years experience in her field assisting many elders and others on island. Not knowing that Randi was related to one of the alpaca farm members Island Alpaca Farm selected a second, additional winner. Ernie Dewing of Chappaquiddick. (Shown to the left with Island Alpaca herd member, Margeaux). Ernie, is the founder of Reptile Recording Studio a writer, keyboardist and vocalist with the band Propergander. Currently Ernie Is producing a CD for his son Avery, a writer, guitarist and vocalist. To enter the drawing for the next $100 Island Alpaca Gift Certificate, to be held this May, visit the farm or our home page and sign up for our quarterly E-newsletters for your chance to win.
Heather Welch of Island Alpaca Co. has recently appeared in person to receive her award for winning a state-wide competition the 2009 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Two of her photographs have been published in the 2009 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. (Calendar is Free with any online purchase of $20 or more!)
The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The ceremonies took place on "Massachusetts Day" Thursday September 18th at the Massachusetts Building at the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield. Copies of the calendar are available for purchase on our website and in our farm store.
Ms Welch has also taken a first place and was awarded a blue ribbon for the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association National Conference Photo Contest. Her winning photo of Island Alpaca "Marle Strikes a Pose" is featured in the Fall Issue of Alpaca's Magazine. Other photographs submitted by the farm have been awarded a second and third place and will also appear in the magazine. To view these award winning photographs and the others in the competition please visit AOBA the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association website. Alpaca's Magazine is also available for purchase at the Island Alpaca Farm Store.
Summer 2008: Island Alpaca Visits Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
This summer, Island Alpaca Farm was invited for an afternoon to introduce our alpaca to those who were not able to visit our farm. Our alpacas "Hottie" and "Michelangelo's David" were well received with the help of Anna Marie D'Addarie, and Philippe Morin.
August 2008: Vineyard Gazette Features Island Alpaca!
Story by Pat Waring, photographed by Betsy Corsiglia
This summer, Island Alpaca Farm was featured in Cape Cod Life's special Island magazine,Martha's Vineyard Life. A short story, that may prove fun to read!
August 2008: Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair.
Thank you for visiting us at the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair!
This year year Island Alpaca Farm was at the fair in the Fiber Tent and it was a big success! We are so glad so many of you visited. Marle and Jackpot our very friendly and proud blue ribbon winners look forward to seeing you again next year!
If you would like to see Maegan Hoover and Kelly Elverson bring a healthy dose of competition (and excitement about alpacas) to last years 146th annual Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair, please take a experience their 3-minute video!
The Equine Natural Movement Series was created in the 90's by Joesph Freeman as an extension of his practice with humans. The bodywork series release adhesions and re-balances the fascial system allowing an animal to reach beyond expected performance plateaus. Some added benefits: Heightened grace in movement, increased overall performance, quickening responses, creating more energy and viberance, adding power and efficiency, and reducing possible injury.
Phoenix Russell is the youngest graduate of the Equine Natural Movement School. She is a certified practitioner of the Equine Natural Movement Series. To learn more about her practice, and what she can do for your animal, visit her website: www.holisticequinerebalancing.com.
January, 2008: Island Alpaca Visits Peru
Barbara Ronchetti, of Island Alpaca Co. was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Peru to study the alpaca of the Altiplano, with Stephen R. Purdy, DVM, Associate Professor of Veterinary Education and Director of Camelid Studies, University of Massachusetts. This program is the first undergraduate Camelid Studies Program developed to expose undergraduate and graduate students, owners, and practicing veterinarians to the latest techniques in camelid medicine, surgery, reproduction, and management.
Also on the trip were Brooke Thomas, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and his wife, textile expert Shirley Thomas , Cheryl DeWitt, DVM, a neonatal specialist of and students and teaching assistants of the Camelid Studies program, Catelyn Deschen, Lindsey Morrone, and Sara Ku. Camelid Veterinary Services, Bluffton, Ohio
Above: Dr. Thomas, the mayor of Nunoa, Dr. Purdy, Sara Ku, Lindsey Morrone, and Catelyn Deschen.
In part, this trip, was to facilitate a project to provide humanitarian and camelid health aid to the people of the Peruvian Altiplano.
Above: Children of a local rancher, Nunoa, 2008
We were so fortunte to began the trip with a meeting with the Jane C. Wheeler a visiting professor at San Marcos University in Lima, who has studied, extensively, the origins of the alpaca. She is also the Vice President for Research, CONOPA (Coordinadora de Investigación y Desarrollo de Camélidos Sudamericanos). Also at the University of Lima, we met with Raul Rosario, president for research of CONOPA about developing student and information exchange programs, and work with Mr. Rosario to learn of the vaccines he developed in Peru for study in the United States.
After a brief stay in Cusco, and a visit to Machu Picchu, we visited with Dr. Walter Bravo, at the La Raya Research Facility, and then traveled onward to a small town, Nunoa, elevation, 14,000 ft. to stay at an orphanage that Brooke Thomas had contact with from prior years, to better understand the needs of the people and to learn where we could best assist with the formation of this special project.
Above: a gift of a hearty meal at the Nunoa Orphanage. Recipients, Catelyn Deschenes, Lindsey Morrone, and Sara Ku.
With a visit to the health care facilities, local people, alpaca ranchers, and the mayor, this project was developed.
Above: Local Nunoa shopkeeper, and knitters who have provided goods that are for sale at Island Alpaca Gift Shop.