Visiting Greener Pastures
No, not so far as Peru where alpacas are native, but just to Shelburne, Mass., there to visit Wheel-View Farm. At Wheel-View, John & Carolyn Wheeler raise Belted Galloway cattle fed only on grass. This is better for the pasture, better for the surrounding environment and (to my taste) makes for better tasting beef. Back in 2011 before I departed for India we had been buying beef from Wheel-View. This was our first chance to get back and re-stock. Tomorrow it is grass-fed beefsteak on the grill.
On our way back we encountered alpacas – not ranging about wild but on a small farm. There were 5 or 6, all recently shorn. These animals are a source of amazing natural fiber; some years back Kim has made me an knitted alpaca hat:
The warming power of this hat is beyond description – suffice to say should I be called upon to visit the South Pole I am more than provided for, hat-wise. Anyway searching about I find at least 16 alpaca ranchers in Massachusetts. Alpacas have been farmed in the US since 1984, and today give access to a beneficial but complicated set of tax incentives.
Nonetheless, don’t expect to be seeing any alpacas here in Arlington anytime soon. For now I’m happy to be an end-user, not a producer, where animal products are concerned.