For more information, contact:
Barbara & Warren Nuessle
Bay Springs Farm Alpacas, LLC
542 New England Rd.
Cape May, NJ 08204
Alpacas were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in South America. For the Incas, who inhabited the high Andean mountains of Peru, the alpaca was central to their culture. They revered these animals for their soft, warm and lightweight fleece, which they sheared and used for clothing. While the Incas often dyed the fleece to produce bright tapestries and to weave visually interesting designs, Alpaca fiber is available in more than 20 different natural colors which can be blended to create literally hundreds of different shades. Many knitters and spinners combine alpaca with wool, mohair, angora and other types of fiber for interesting effects.
Although fashionable garments made from alpaca fiber were popular among the well-to-do in the United States in the 1930s, the animals were not imported into this country until 1984. Since then the alpaca population has grown to around 80,000. As the population grows, we expect that a strong commercial market will develop in this country to meet the high demand for alpaca products. At present, much of the fleece is sold directly to hand spinners and weavers. Typically, alpacas are shorn once a year in the late spring to keep the alpacas cool in the summer. We will be offering fleece for sale in June.
Marketing alpaca fiber is the central objective of the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA). This organization has been founded to serve its members by offering a distribution channel for alpaca fiber, by increasing consumer awareness, and by promoting the sale of alpaca products in the United States.