Holiday Open Farm & Sale

Local alpaca breeders will offer alpaca products and opportunities to meet alpacas on Small Business Saturday and the following Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec.  7, from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. The event, at Curly Eye at 6701 W. Gillespie Bridge Road, will feature the huacaya alpaca breed, including a 7-month-old baby alpaca “cria,” kids’ activities and also alpaca products to keep mid-Missouri warm and snug this winter.  Farm owners Gary and Mary Licklider will be on hand to provide information about the animals.

Many are surprised to learn that there are alpaca farms in the area. Curly Eye is an alpaca farm that Gary and Mary Licklider started in 2002.  Curly Eye is also the location of Heartfelt Alpaca Creations, a collaborative of Mary Licklider and three other local women who purchased a FeltLoom™ in 2010 and market their felted alpaca products nationally. One of the owners, Carol Brown, is a textile artist. The other three owners, Linda Coats, Mary Licklider and Diane Peckham, have been raising and enjoying alpacas for many years.

The gentle nature and disease resistance of alpacas make them easy to keep. The Lickliders spend about 20 minutes each morning and evening taking care of the 19 animals at Curly Eye.

Alpaca fleece is harvested without harming the animals to produce warm, luxurious apparel. The untold number of benefits from its fleece appeal to spinners and weavers like Linda Coats of Coats High Ridge Farm: “Soft, warm, strong, colorful with or without dye, hypo-allergenic, washable–it’s a wonderful product.”

Since its introduction to the United States only about 30 years ago, the alpaca industry has grown in popularity with farmers and retailers all over North America. Alpacas are quiet, gentle animals that have proven to be a good long-term investment. The Alpaca Company, run by Nick and Diane Peckham, was the area’s first alpaca farm.

Almost all the other US supplies of this kind of luxury fiber, like cashmere, are from foreign sources. If all the North American alpacas were sheared at once, their fiber would keep a commercial mill busy for only a few weeks.  Because of this gap between supply and demand, the value of alpaca products is expected to hold constant for the foreseeable future. Admission is free. For information contact Mary Licklider at 573-819-4695 or alpacas@curlyeye.com.