Dan White pictured with a few of the ribbons he and his wife Carola have won.
September 28th and 29th observes National Alpaca Farm Days, a nation-wide celebration of a largely unknown but entirely useful and loveable animal resembling its much larger, and better known cousin, the Llama. There are about 160,000 registered alpacas in the United States, and 10 of these sweetly peaceful beauties live right here in Carroll County. The public is cordially invited to visit them between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM on the 28th and 29th.
Arrowpoint Farm, located on top of Ford Mountain in the northern part of the county, is owned and operated by Dan and Carola White. Dan, a retired fire chief, and his wife Carola, bought Arrowpoint Farm 8 years ago when it was 20 heavily wooded and unimproved acres. Today, Arrowpoint Farm has several cleared pasture areas, a state of the art alpaca barn, a beautiful farmhouse, and two out buildings that include Carola White's weaving studio and fleece sorting area. Surrounding the farm is what Realtors habitually call "a million dollar view!"
Dan White gave CNN a tour of the farm. "Our interest in alpacas emerged when I realized that the farm was too small to raise cattle, but that you can raise alpacas about one to an acre," he said. "Once we got to actually meet a few alpacas, we fell in love with them. They are docile, friendly, and the only noise they make is a kind of musical hum. There are lots of times when I just stand out in the pasture and listen to them."
The White's have a number of practical reasons for raising alpacas. "Our long term goals for Arrowpoint Farm are to become a source of animals for other enthusiasts, and to encourage small scale farmers to consider adding alpacas as a way to diversify their farms.
"Alpacas, as must people know," White continued, "are the source for the finest fleece in the world. It is hypoallergenic, contains no lanolin, and is warmer than any other fiber when woven into articles of clothing. Only cashmere comes close."
Alpacas are often confused with the more common llama, but they are distinctly different animals. Llamas are much larger--about twice the size of alpacas--and often weigh two or three times as much. Both llamas and alpacas originate in the Andes Mountains in western South America. There, llamas are principally used as pack animals while alpacas are raised almost exclusively for their fleece. Alpaca fleece is highly desired by weavers because it is virtually ready to spin when it comes off the animal.
"We hope a lot of folks will come out and visit us during National Alpaca Farm Days on the 28th and 29th," White said. "It's a great opportunity for a family outing, and a good way for everyone to get acquainted with one of the prettiest animals in all of nature."
The Alpacas at Arrowpoint Farm are located north of Berryville off CR 425. From Berryville, turn left on CR425 and follow the blacktop for 2.5 miles to CR 422. Turn right on 422 and head up the mountain until you come to a "T". Turn left at the "T" and veer right and follow the bend in the road unto you reach the farm gate numbered 1367.