Scenic 'Under the Moonlite Alpaca and Garlic Ranch - Ulster, PA
Hi, this is Michelle Fontaine for “RVing Today,” and we’re visiting the Under the Moonlite Alpaca Garlic Ranch. This is a working farm. Alpaca, garlic, poop, yes. Let’s hear it from Karen.
Afternoon, Karen Burlingame with Under the Moonlite Alpaca & Garlic Ranch. My husband and I moved here 11 years ago. It was his family property, and we began collecting, as I say, alpacas. I gave him six to begin with because he’s allergic to wool, and alpacas are hypoallergenic. So, he couldn’t tell me no. And then we started rescuing. We’ve taken in three or four different herds, but we’re at 33 currently. We also rescued some donkeys. We keep the girls on one side of the property and the boys on the other because they’re pregnant for a solid year, and they can get pregnant two weeks after they give birth.
So, once a year, we do an annual shearing. We call it our Annual Naked Alpaca Party. Next year will be our tenth annual. We serve breakfast and lunch, and the farm is open for the weekend. It’s the weekend after Mother’s Day.
I belong to a co-op that I send my fiber up to Massachusetts, and then I buy back finished gloves, and socks, and boot liners. And then from there–and yarn–and then from there I handmake hats and scarves and some other odds and ends– a blanket or two– and then I do purchase Peruvian sweaters like the one I have on, because I love my alpaca sweaters. You can wash them and throw them in the dryer. All of my hats that are on my mannequin ladies have a wire brim in them that I handmake, and they are 100% alpaca.
And so, we have grown from six alpacas, as I said, to 33 right now, and we really do enjoy them. They’re a totally green animal. They use a common poop pile, and that gets raked up, and it is the best fertilizer you can use; hence, I went to a poo seminar to learn all about it. And we grow gourmet garlic out of our gourmet alpaca poo. This is called a ladder braid, and this particular kind is called purple grazer. It’s a medium-flavored one. That’s what both of those are. And then this is Leningrad. I sell it as a lollypop. And this is spicy hot garlic. There’s 150 different ones, and there are a lot of spicy hot garlics. I grow three or four hot ones. This is music, and music is a good, oh, garlic bread, tomato sauce type variety.
We plant in on Columbus, out on 4th of July. Ninety-nine percent of them are hard necks, so their storage shelf is longer, usually anywhere from three to seven months, depending on where you keep it. It needs to be in a cool, dark place.
Michelle: As the sun was setting, we were gifted with this beautiful rainbow. In addition to the alpaca and donkeys and guinea hens mentioned, they also have horses and goats, maybe some others I didn’t see.
It’s a very special place. You do need to be a Harvest Host member to have permission to go up there, and it’s a limited space, but I was able to park right near the fence, and it was pretty darn level. Under the Moonlite Alpaca Garlic Ranch in Ulster, Pennsylvania.