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Local ranches set to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Day Sept. 28
Tour three alpaca ranches this weekend, Sept. 28-29

A welcoming committee of alpacas stands at the entrance to Ranch of the Oaks. (Ranch of Oaks/Courtesy)

A welcoming committee of alpacas stands at the entrance to Ranch of the Oaks. (Ranch of Oaks/Courtesy)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated from a previous version.

Three alpaca farms situated within a few miles of each other in Prescott Valley will open their properties to the public as a way of celebrating National Alpaca Farm Day.

All three ranches are located north of Highway 89A, easily reached via Coyote Springs Road. Two offer free tours on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29.

photo

Young visitors feed the alpacas as the 2018 National Alpaca Farm Day event at the Peaceful Prairie Alpaca Ranch. (Peaceful Prairie/Courtesy)

Here are the locations and what the three businesses offer this weekend.

PEACEFUL PRAIRIE

The oldest alpaca business in the area is Peaceful Prairie Alpaca Ranch, going strong after 20 years, located at 7375 N. Coyote Springs Rd., one-half mile north of Highway 89A. The owners, Wendy Dittbrenner and Dusty Eiker, raise about 80 alpacas and seven Merino sheep from champion bloodlines on 10 acres.

Its celebrations run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29.

“This is rain or shine, come prepared for any weather event. We are a small family farm, but do offer wheelchair accessibility,” Dittbrenner announced on the ranch’s website. She has served many years on the Alpaca Breeders of Arizona Board of Directors, and was elected this year as a director for the national Alpaca Owners Association.

In addition to using science and fleece data for breeding high quality alpacas for the best quality fiber, the farm’s Art Studio offers items and make-and-take projects for sale.

The ranch welcomes visitors and has created a fun self-guided walking “Tour de Ranch.” New this year is an Alpaca Scavenger Hunt. Pick up a Scavenger Hunt Map at the studio booth and search for all of the hidden treasures.

“Again, we will have face-painting, spinning, knitting and lots of locally grown and handmade holiday gifts available from several farms and fiber artists here. We will have snacks and waters available, and picnic tables for anyone that wants to ‘paca’ lunch,” Dittbrenner said.

Visits are free; donations are appreciated, not expected. Dogs and pets must stay in cars out of respect for the ranch’s dogs and herd. For more information, call 928-848-0267.

PLUM CREEK ALPACAS

Brian Smith and Valerie Reiser, owners and caretakers at Plum Creek Alpacas, also will be open both days, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The ranch is located north of Highway 89A about four miles north on Coyote Springs Road to 8260 Plum Creek Way.

The couple purchased the Prescott Valley property in 2017 with one alpaca, Zayna. They now care for more than 40 alpacas on the ranch — 11 are pregnant and 10 are less than a year old. A young alpaca is called “cria,” but most people use “kid.”

“At Plum Creek Alpacas, our first goal is educating the public about these wonderful fuzzy creatures. Our second goal is producing the best Grade 2 quality fiber,” Reiser said.

She has 10 pens and will have helpers available all weekend to answer questions and talk about the animals. Reiser said she has information on what it takes to raise an alpaca as a pet, as a fiber animal, or as a breeding ranch, and how to show alpacas.

She will offer demonstrations on dyeing fibers, how essential oils and fibers can work together, and a yoga instructor will talk about the benefits of relaxation with alpaca yoga. People will have access to picnic tables for breaks.

“Our ranch has some pathways to some of the pens,” Reiser said. “The rest is hard packed dirt.”

For more information, call 928-230-3710.

RANCH OF THE OAKS

Mette and Tom Goehring met in 1999, joined households, and envisioned their dream for Ranch of the Oaks. The farm was established in 2003 in California, and the couple and animals moved to Prescott Valley in 2018.

This is the second year it has been open for National Alpaca Farm Day, on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located about four miles north on Coyote Springs Road, right on Turtle Rock Road, and right to 10055 N Dusty Rd.

The public will be able to tour the 10-acre ranch and visit the Fiber Mill, which takes raw fiber from alpaca, llama, mohair, pygora and most wools and turns it into yarn, roving rug yarn, felt and more.

“We process for folks all over — California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and a few other states,” Mette said.

The store offers hand-spun yarn, knit, braided and woven items. Several vendors will offer for sale locally made products. Live demonstrations and opportunities for up close visits with alpaca are available. Ranch of the Oaks and Plum Creek Alpacas are working together on this event.

For more information, call 805-451-4104.

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