Grant Award: $6,000 — Agritourism and Retail Expansion
Woody and Mike are enhancing the agritourism element at their 29-acre alpaca farm, offering educational opportunities about fiber farming to the general public and other growers. With these improvements, Woody and Mike can host large groups all year long, and expect to double their sales.
They have enlarged their retail showcase from 180 square feet to 520, and have included a 330 square feet of covered deck space to provide a demonstration area. They have rehabilitated an existing small pasture and animal holding area to accommodate one-on-one activities for the young, elderly and handicapped individuals. New outdoor seating encourages groups to extend their visit on the farm.
Woody wants to offer a chance for others to connect with the animals. “Our herd is very personable,” she said. “When you have an enriched experience with an animal and have the opportunity to buy clothing or yarn created from that animal, it becomes a personal connection that transcends the farm tour.”
Woody’s career in food service with the beef sales industry has given her skills that are helpful on the farm. She is able to identify variable qualities of fiber available not only from the various animals but from the different grades on each animal. She has developed products to match the unique characteristics of the fiber and has partnered with local artists to manufacture these items from her fiber.
Woody and Mike sell fiber products at their on-farm store, the farmer’s market, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair and the Mother Earth News Fair. They also breed and sell animals to other growers.