If you ever see an alpaca, you will notice its curious personality, soft fleece and big, engaging eyes.
Leda Blumberg and her husband Steve Cole have been raising a herd of beautiful alpacas since 2008 – they now have 16 animals and are expecting four more baby alpacas – at their Faraway Farm in Yorktown.
(Click on the video above to learn more about the alpacas).
Blumberg, who grew up on her parents' farm which they originally bought in 1951, said she was looking for a new farming venture to help her keep the 45-acre property.
"Aside from the fact that we fell in love with [the alpacas], we wanted to make sure it would be a viable investment," Blumberg said. "We love the animals. They are so beautiful, sensitive, curious and just enjoyable to be around."
Here are some interesting facts about the alpacas, as posted on the Farway Farm's website:
Alpacas are closely related to camels and llamas.
Alpaca fleece comes in 22 natural colors.
Alpacas are pregnant for an average of 11 ½ months.
Alpacas have leathery footpads with two hard nails on each foot.
Alpacas are shy, but very curious.
Alpacas are shorn once a year and their fiber is made into soft, warm garments.
Alpaca fleece is warmer, softer and lighter in weight than sheep wool. The fashion industry considers alpaca fleece a luxury fiber.
Alpacas are modified ruminants, having three-part stomachs.
Alpacas use a communal dung pile and, thus, are very clean animals to take care of.
Alpacas don’t have top teeth in front. They don’t bite people and kicking is rare.
Blumberg and Cole were interviewed by prominent Westchester resident Martha Stewart for her Martha Stewart Show in 2010. Her crew spent two days filming scenes at Farway Farm, which included feeding, shearing, and the creation of an alpaca garment from fleece. Click here to view the segment.
Here is what the family writes on their website :
Our goal is to raise happy, healthy alpacas of outstanding quality. We take pride in giving our animals the utmost care through solid nutrition, a clean, healthy living environment, and conscientious individualized care.
Years ago, when we met our first alpacas we were totally smitten. These lovely, exotic creatures enchanted us and there was no turning back! They are sensitive, intuitive, and oh-so-beautiful. We attended conferences, seminars and alpaca shows. We visited countless farms around the Northeast, and finally, after months of careful consideration, picked out our foundation herd.
Blumberg and Cole own a store on their property which is stocked with soft alpaca garments — sweaters, shawls, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, blankets, stuffed animals and yarn in both natural and dyed colors. The animals are shorn once a year – every May – and the fleece is transformed into yarn to create a number of garments. Shearing is a painless process for the animals. The couple also sells photographs, paintings and cards created by local artists.
The store is open year round by appointment and during special events throughout the year. For more information and directions to the farm, call 914-962-2110 or visit their website .
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.