Sunday, October 11, 2015

Island Alpaca Make New Friends at Fall Fun Festival at the Oak Bluffs Library!

Atticus Rex and Mozart of Island Alpaca were met by a number of enthusiastic party-goers on this beautiful crisp fall day! There were games of all kinds; a hay bale obstacle course, "guess the pumpkin’s weight", bowling with squash, craft-works, delicious fall treats and of course, Island Alpaca!  Many Thanks to Caleb and David Hannon for bringing them to this special event, and to Anna Marie D'Addarie and Andrea Figaratto for their help to organize this special day!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This Friday, October 2, Ashleigh Plante and Andrea Figaratto of Island Alpaca Farm traveled with three Island alpaca to West Springfield to participate in the three-day alpaca event at the 99th annual Eastern States Exposition. They were among many alpaca breeders at the event, and brought home the coveted prize: the Eastern States Exhibition Sweepstakes Banner.
The Alpaca Show usually draws over 200 alpacas; this year, Island Alpaca not only won the “Reserve Champion” award, but also garnered a new prize, the Sweepstakes Champion. This goes to the exhibitors earning the greatest number of total points in the Alpaca Show, based on ribbons awarded for each alpaca, their fleece, and fiber products.
Also awarded was a Blue Ribbon and Reserve Championship for their alpaca Estrada’s Hot Shot, and five additional blue ribbons, including for the category of Breeders Best Group of Three! Many Kudo's to Ashleigh and Andrea for their hard-work and big awards!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Island Alpaca Hosts the Fourth Annual Island Housing Trust Fundraiser!

Two friendly island alpacas, with their handlers Elizabeth Kahaly and Jake Martin welcomed more than 250 invited guests as they arrived to gather at Island Alpaca Farm in Oak Bluffs on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful Vineyard summer day and guests gathered under a large tent to support the fourth annual fundraising event for Island Housing Trust (IHT), a nonprofit organization that creates affordable housing on Martha’s Vineyard.

Barbara Ronchetti, owner of Island Alpaca Farm, hosted the event with IHT which included a sumptuous brunch by Patrie Grace with the help of Nisa Webster.  Barbara Ronchetti noted, "I am very pleased to support the important work of the Island Housing Trust. As an island employer, I know just how hard it is for staff to find affordable housing, especially for year-round living. In fact, just this month a key employee here at the farm, on staff for over 3 years, lost her housing and had to move off-island given the severity of the situation. I feel privileged to do my part to help the IHT in its ongoing efforts to help alleviate the problem, which has ramifications island-wide." 

Chrissy Kinsman, a West Tisbury resident and owner of Pie Chicks recounted her own story of how she and husband Drew Kinsman, experienced years of moving season to season, otherwise known as doing the "Vineyard Shuffle", before finding permanent affordable housing through the help of IHT.  "After three years, our names were drawn from a lottery of 300 eligible people." recalled Kinsman.
Richard Leonard, President of IHT and Ted Bayne, a generous contributor, also spoke in support of IHT.

IHT executive director Philippe Jordi told the assembled guests that IHT has developed a multi-faceted approach to creating affordable housing that has produced over 60 affordable homes in its eight years, relying on a model that uses inexpensive long-term land leases, while building affordable energy-efficient homes for sale and for rent. Mr. Jordi emphasized the continuing need for more affordable housing. He said that IHT is now working on 15 units and has set a goal of 100 homes by the end of 2015.

These funds will contribute to the creation of permanently affordable workforce housing on the Island, and will help IHT realize their goal of creating 180 affordable homes by 2020. Creation of these homes benefits the Island community as a whole by providing stable, quality housing to the people who make up the backbone of our community: teachers, hospital workers, Steamship Authority employees, police officers, and local business owners. To make a donation call or visit the IHT Website:, or call 508-693-1117

Photos courtesy of Ashleigh Plante, Island Alpaca Co. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Island Alpaca Hit the Road! 

Ashleigh Plante and David Hannon with Island Alpaca Silver Angel and Angelina in tow, make a road trip to hopefully return to bring some new genetics in the herd! Thank you to all of the helpful people who assisted us in Woods Hole when our vehicle would not re-start!  We appreciate the much welcomed shady area at the Woods Hole Historic Museum that such a kind staff provided to us while we awaited our mini-van repair! Many thanks also to all of the folks at Precision Auto in Falmouth (and the anonymous passerby that recommended them), for the speedy repair!)

Ashleigh Plante and David Hannon will also attend seminar conducted by Dr. Dewitt on emergency medical care, and a visit to a fiber mill offering a program on fleece and fiber.
Alpacas Surprise Visit  The alpacas handler Ashleigh Plante (second from left) chats with museum employees and other guests, answering questions. Peggy Cunningham (left), manager of Under the Sun came across the street to see the animals. She pets Silver Angel while museum docent Connie Martyna pets Angelina and museum intern Jenna Bachrach looks on.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Bacio" by Barbara B.
Acrylic on canvas, February 2015
Island Alpaca Enthusiast Reveals Her Artistic Talents!
Barbara is 17 years old, lives in Philadelphia, and is a senior at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware. She has been drawing and painting since she was old enough to hold a crayon, and she hopes to have a career as a portrait artist.
We at Island Alpaca look forward to seeing more of her work! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Island Alpaca Goes National!

Island Alpaca is proud to have featured on the cover of Alpacas Magazine a photo of and Island Alpaca taken by our Barn Manager, Ashleigh Plante. Congrats to Ashleigh for shooting such a wonderful image! Ashleigh's Photograph of an Island Alpaca was selected for the cover of Alpaca Owners Association Inc. 2015 Summer Issue of Alpacas a premiere national publication for alpaca enthusiasts of all kinds.

Monday, June 8, 2015

This past Saturday, Island Alpaca Co. was thrilled to be amongst many other creatures for the 7th Annual Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard, Celebration of Pets at the Harbor View Hotel.

Caila Drew Morin and David M. Hannon of Island Alpaca brought along their furry friends from the farm, Atticus Rex and Hugo, (AKA Hot Shot). They were joined by dozens of other pets and their owners, and the members of the ASMV distributed ribbons, bandanas, and biscuits to all the pets, describing some of the animals up for adoption.
Fun was had by all!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Alpaca Take Flight!!

Last week Island Alpaca visited the Katama Airfield where the Vineyard Montessori School hosted their annual fundraising event! We were so happy to join them! The alpacas, Atticus Rex and Holmes were very well received!

Many thanks too to Henry Danielson and Ashleigh Plante for helping to make this event possible, and to Deborah of the Vineyard Montessori School for welcoming us!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Island Alpaca sends many thanks to Cape Air and the staff at Bird's Eye View Magazine!!

An extra-special thank you to Michelle Haynes & Nancy Woods of Cape Air / Bird's Eye View and to one of our newest alpaca enthusiasts, Clementine who graces the  page! 

Island Alpaca is thrilled to be featured in Cape Air's Spring edition of their In-flight publication, Bird's Eye View. What a wonderful issue, not just for Island Alpaca, but for the island community.

Wonderful stories!  You can view the full publication here We are so excited to share it with you!

(Island Alpaca featured on Page 21 & 22)


Shear Joy!

Island Alpaca Eighth Annual Island Alpaca Shearing Day Event was once again a HUGE success!  
This past Saturday, April 26 marked the Island Alpaca's Annual Shearing Day Event which was well attended, once again with the good fortune of a terrific, sunny day!  Islanders and off-island visitors alike came to watch and explore the full process of harvesting the fleece from the herd and witness the start of the fleece to fiber transition, shearing 70 alpaca for the farms annual harvest. The weight of the fleece for Island Alpaca Co. alpacas harvest is soon to be determined. 

Each alpaca fleece is bagged and separated by individual alpaca name. Half of the harvest, will be transported to Fall River, MA where Island Alpaca fleeces are washed and sorted, and used for making hats, gloves, scarves and socks and boot/shoe insoles. The other half of the harvest, the prime blanket section of the fleece,  is transported to Southern New Hampshire where they will be processed into yarn for sale at their gift shop on island and online, and for knitters who make products for the local farmers markets and gift shop. 

The alpaca were thrilled with the work to remove their winter coat.  The expert team: Matt Best from New Hampshire, and his assistant Nate Trojanski from Connecticut. The shearers and the crew of helping hands, were hard at work for nearly 8 hours, working efficiently averaging less than seven minutes per animal. Assisting were Island Alpaca volunteers, friends, family members and staff:  Simone Brewer,  Nicola Blake, Susan Currier, Barbara Dutton, Alexander Figueroa, Andrea Figaratto, David Hannon, Ethan Howard, Riley Kadis, Rizwan Malik, Andrew Mclean, Jake Martin, Ashleigh Plante, Charlie and Luise Ronchetti and Phoenix Russell.

Island Alpaca Shearing Day Raffle winners were Allana and Mike Kelly of Newton, MA winning one of our newest alpaca throws, and Staci MacDonald of North Attleboro, an Island Alpaca gift certificate, congratulations!
Shearing Fun Facts: Alpacas are shorn just once a year in the Spring. Each alpaca produces between 2 to 12 pounds of fiber depending on age, genetics, environment and nutrition. Island Alpaca shear the alpaca stretched out on a thick, padded mat on the ground. tying the front legs together and the back legs together.  This method allows the shearer to work faster and get a more even cut, it is less stressful for the alpaca this way. Shearing time varies greatly by the expertise of the shearer, but generally 10 minutes per animal is standard. Alpacas are shorn with the same clippers that are used for sheep.  Blades have to be sharpened and oiled often.  Because alpacas don't have natural lanolin oils like sheep, the clippers need to be oiled more frequently. 

Many thanks to The Martha's Vineyard Times; Angela Prout, reporter and Michael Cummo, photographer for writing such a great piece "A Good Hair Day" about our Shearing Day and featuring us on the Calendar Section cover...  We all loved it--what fabulous photos!! Please find a link to their story here!
Visit hope you can visit us soon to see the new coifs on the paca! In our farm store at 1 Head of the Pond Road, in Oak Bluffs you will see the end result of this great process. Find beautiful roving, yarns, and locally produced garments from these wonderful animals that graze in their pastures! We are open every day from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. (10 to 5 after May 22, 2015). 508-693-5554, or visit our site,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Alpaca sponsorship in memory of Orion alpaca death neonatal clinic We wanted to introduce you to one special alpaca named "Orion" who lived in Vermont.

Please read his story here.

Due to the overwhelming response of Orion's fans, Island Alpaca and Wing & A Prayer Farm created "Orion's Fund" for those people who are looking to take positive action in response to the death of a sweet alpaca that brought so much joy to so many. In his honor, you can help to keep the Alpaca Neonatal Birthing Clinic alive!
     With the help of cria's that have passed, such as "Orion" (shown above with his fan club, and his mom "Olivia",  seen on the right) we conduct an educational Alpaca Neonatal Clinic to help others learn how to diagnose and solve any problems that may arise during pregancy, birth along with general neonatal care.
     The bodies of the cria that have passed, even though their lives were short, are able to contribute so much to the lives of the cria's of the future. These cria's who have died, did not died in vein, their lives still live on, and with so much meaning. They will live on through the lives of their fellow living cria so that we can better help them to live healthy, happy, long lives.

If you would like to make a contribution to the "Orion Fund", please visit our webpage here!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Save the Date!
IHT Summer Benefit Brunch
It’s been a long winter, so let’s talk about summer instead! This year Island Alpaca will host The Island Housing Trust Summer Benefit Brunch! It will be held on August 16th at the Island Alpaca Farm in Oak Bluffs. We want you to be a part of it! If you're interested in being a Table Captain, a sponsor, a volunteer, hearing more information, or being involved in any other capacity you can think of, please call Sophie at (774) 447-4410 or email at

The herd at Island Alpaca would like to thank Sam and David Hannon for the chow ( hay delivery ) today! Thanks for making the effort for us! ( A special thanks from Roberto!!)