A female alpaca is held down while being shorn during Kensington Farm’s annual Shearing Days, an event open to the public April 6 and 7 at the farm on 248 Street in Langley. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Alpacas shed some fleece at annual shearing event

Roughly 100 animals sheared over three-day period in Langley

Alpacas were given a close shave, whether they liked it or not, at Kensington Prairie Farm in Langley recently.

The farm, a locally owned breeder and producer of award-winning alpaca fibre, invited the public to attend its annual Shearing Days April 6 and 7.

An all-female shearing team, accompanied by some farm staff, sheared 100 animals over three days on the farm’s newly designed shearing table, explained Kensington Prairie Farm manager, and owner’s granddaughter, Deprice Martens.

She and her farm staff of six were be on hand to help accomplish this three-day feat.

After shearing, staff ‘skirted’ each fleece to remove the coarse parts, sort by colour and general grade, noted farm owner Catherine Simpson, a certified as a qualified fibre sorter.

Simpson sorted alongside Cathy Merkley, an expert fibre sorter.

The reason behind making this event accessible to the public is showing visitors what their clothing is made of, and where it comes from.

This premise encouraged Simpson to build a Kensington Prairie Farm store on the property. The store stocks her own fibre that has been made into knitting yarn, socks, beanie hats and home décor items such as pillows, baby blankets and throws.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to bring their kids to see where alpaca fibre comes from, and how it begins its journey to become a baby blanket or sweater,” Simpson said.

The alpacas are shorn by hand — a process that does not hurt the animals.

“It’s fun to see how energetic the alpacas are after ‘losing’ an average of 5-10 pounds of fleece,” Simpson said.

About Kensington Prairie Farm

Kensington Prairie Farm is a family run diversified farming operation, which includes breeding, raising and showing Huacaya alpacas, breeding and raising Registered Polled Hereford cattle and producing artisanal honey and organic jams. Kensington Prairie Farm markets and sells a variety of high-quality Canadian-made and imported alpaca products from their on-farm boutique and online store.

Kensington Prairie Farm is a member of the Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association, Alpaca Canada, Fraser Valley Llama & Alpaca Association, BC Llama & Alpaca Association and Alpaca Registry Inc. For more information, visit: www.kensingtonprairie.ca.

Simpson believes the farm is the largest producer of alpaca meat in Western Canada.

“As the alpaca ages, the fleece becomes coarser, and it reaches the point where it’s unusable for anything, and that’s the time when we move our animals to the meat program,” Simpson said.

Simpson set off to produce meat after numerous visits to Peru, where she ate alot of alpaca.

“It mades ense to me,” she said. “Initially I was mortified by the whole thought of doing it, and the first one wasn’t easy. It isn’t particularly easy now, but it’s not easy to take my cows, either.”

About Catherine Simpson

Simpson established Kensington Prairie Farm in 2,000 on five acres of land in Surrey, in an area historically known as Kensington Prairie County. Home to 12 alpacas, the farm quickly grew to 30-plus animals. In 2006, Kensington Prairie Farm relocated to Langley, and expanded its operations from five to 45 acres and now has about 65 alpacas.

Simpson is board member of the Fraser Valley Farm Direct Marketing Association, Fraser Valley Llama and Alpaca Club, West Coast Hereford Club and participates in the Shop Historic Otter 248th Trail marketing group.

About Quechua Benefit

Quechua Benefit, a charity founded in 1996 is dedicated to helping the Quechua people in the highlands of Peru. This region is where the vast majority of alpaca fibre in the world is produced. Quechua Benefit and its volunteers deliver medical, dental and optical care; distribute warm clothing; provide shelter, food, and sociological services with an emphasis on children. More information can be found at: www.quechuabenefit.org

 

A female alpaca is held down while being shorn during Kensington Farm’s annual Shearing Days, an event open to the public April 6 and 7 at the farm on 248 Street in Langley. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Just Posted

VIDEO: Kids team up with Langley realtor to build holiday “homes”

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Langley hockey player heads to NHL prospects camp

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Langley Rams receiver inks with BC Lions

Jevon Cottoy joined the Rams this season and now has a multi-year contract with the Lions.

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Christmas fun at Aldergrove Library: VIDEO & PHOTOS

Youngsters enjoyed decorating a Christmas tree with their homemade craft decorations

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Kodiaks avenge themselves against Pilots: ACTION PHOTOS

Aldergrove and Abbotsford Junior B hockey teams tie game at 5-5

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Most Read