Kensington Prairie Farm, a locally owned breeder and producer of alpaca fibre, invites the public to attend their annual shearing day on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at their farm in Langley.
“We will be doing it a bit differently this year; we are going to have an all-girl shearing team, accompanied by some farm staff,” said Deprice Martens, Kensington Prairie Farm manager. “The event will take place over three days and we will shear 100 animals with our newly designed shearing table.”
Visitors will be able to watch as alpacas are shorn by hand — a process that does not hurt the animals.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days at Kensington Prairie Farm, 1736 248 St. Refreshments will be available by donation to support the non-profit, Quechua Benefit.
Quechua Benefit provides medical care, warm clothing, shelter, food and sociological services to the Quechua people in the highlands of Peru. This region is where the vast majority of alpaca fibre in the world is produced.
“After shearing, we will ‘skirt’ each fleece to remove the coarse parts, sort by colour and general grade,” said farm owner Catherine Simpson, who is certified as a qualified fibre sorter. She will be sorting with Cathy Merkley, an expert fibre sorter.
Simpson continues her tradition of making the annual event accessible to the public. She sees increasing interest from people in learning what their clothing is made of, and where it comes from. That 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,”said Simpson.
“It’s fun to see how energetic the alpacas are after ‘losing’ an average of 5 to 10 pounds of fleece.”
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