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December 04, 2016
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Alpaca: The new-age Golden Fleece

Herds of alpacas dot the landscape in various locations throughout New York and Pennsylvania.
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox

Durable and beautiful, items made from alpaca fleece have long been treasured, but the recent rise in popularity of local alpaca farms has allowed consumers here in the country to spin their own yarn, weave their own blankets or purchase a one-of-a-kind garment of such high quality that they can be “passed down for generations” according to Burkart.

Spread out over 40 acres in Callicoon, NY, another alpaca farm is thriving. Sixteen years ago, Rob Bruce and Michele Armour “decided to get a weekend place in the mountains,” finally settling on the property now known as Rosehaven Alpacas. Their journey from city dwellers to county life has been interesting, and their fascination with the animals themselves began with Rob coming across a small herd of alpacas “in the middle of a road,” after they had wandered out of their enclosure on a farm nearby. “We had seen a few signs for an alpaca farm in the area,” Rob said, “but had never really paid attention to it.” That day, surrounded in the road by “strange, long-necked, alien-looking creatures,” changed Rob’s and Michele’s lives fairly quickly and led to their ongoing love affair with the sweet, gentle giants. Today, the pair hosts the annual Alpaca Festival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts each Labor Day weekend. Networking with others is a big part of what Rosehaven does. “We’ve had a great time meeting and knowing [other] alpaca people,” they say. “We email together, learn together, travel to shows together and most importantly, we laugh together.” Rosehaven Alpacas has grown exponentially, hosting other farms on its property, building a large clientele and supporting an extensive inventory with its online store. Men’s and women’s apparel, kids clothing, and golf attire are available along with yarn, fabric by the yard and items for the home. “Cozy up with a luxurious alpaca throw,” their website reads, “or treat your feet to a beautiful rug that will last forever.” Hats, socks, bags, gloves and mittens are but a few of the luxe accessories available at Rosehaven, Imagine! and other alpaca farms scattered about the countryside. What better time than now, with winter upon us, to add to your wardrobe, or enhance your own warm and cozy home with something made from modern-day golden fleece?