Stock Up on Wooly Things at Alpaca and Llama Farms in Rhode Island
These family-owned operations raise llamas and alpacas and have the knitted goods to prove it.
This article was created in collaboration with Rhode Island Commerce.
This article was updated from an earlier version printed in the November 2019 issue of Rhode Island Monthly.
As the days grow crisp, thoughts turn to wooly things. And Rhode Island has plenty of the live variety to thrill the little ones and cater to your inner kid. Visit these six farms for alpaca or llama meet and greets, idyllic settings and oh-so-soft apparel and yarn.
The Lazy K Ranch
Alan and Ann Kinsley, owners of the Lazy K, got into the alpaca business by accident. “We wanted to start a farm and started looking for goats,” says Alan. As it turned out, goats were hard to come by, but one breeder had two alpacas for sale. “We fell in love and it snowballed from there.”
Seven years later, about twenty alpacas call the twelve-acre farm home, along with assorted chickens, turkeys, honeybees and, yes, goats. Sure, the alpacas earn their keep — they’re the source of the yarn, socks, shawls, scarves, hats and other items sold at the pasture-side store and farmers markets. (The goats and honeybees also pitch in, providing the raw materials for the goat milk soap and honey that the farm sells.)
But with names such as Petunia, Archie and Schartner, the alpacas have become family to the Kinsleys and their seven-year-old daughter. “They’re so sweet and gentle you can’t help spending time with them,” says Alan.
Lazy K Ranch hosts the South County Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s the only winter farmers market in South County and vendors sell under an outdoor heated tent. Participants include Delicious Deli, Lovewell Farms, Beautiful Day Granola, South County Herbals, Mariska’s Confections, Future Farmers of America (fresh eggs) and Bona-Fido (local made dog treats). The Coastal Growers farmers market also hosts a South Country market table with fresh local produce, meats and cheeses available for purchase.
The Lazy K farm is also open to visit and shop every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 71 Beaver River Rd., West Kingston, thelazykri.com
Other Rhode Island Llama and Alpaca Farms:
Green River Alpacas
Lisa DeWetter and Jonathan King’s forty-four alpacas roam this thirteen-acre farm along with goats, chickens and ducks. Buy alpaca yarn, mittens, hats, scarves and more at the farm store, and schedule a visit through the website. 115 Hallville Rd., Exeter, greenriveralpacas.com
Hope Alpaca Farm
Say hi to Bill and Hope Ryan’s fourteen alpacas on this twenty-acre farm open by appointment only. Buy goodies, such as yarn, mittens and toys from the online store, and schedule a visit via the website or phone. The next open farm event will be in April 2021 before their annual shearing. 134 Maple Ave., Little Compton, 401-635-8089, hopealpacafarm.com
Dandy Acres Llamas
Owners Ralph and Brenda Foxwell breed and show the more than two dozen llamas on their eighty-three-acre farm that you can visit by appointment. Llamas can be hired for hikes, to visit schools and more. Check the farm’s Facebook page for info on fees and to arrange a future llama visit or hike. 1486 Snake Hill Rd., Glocester
Matunuck Alpaca Farm
Mask up and hang out with owner Carla Davis’s fifteen-plus alpacas on the first Sunday of the month year-round, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The next open visit is Feb. 7. Check Instagram a few days before for the address of the farm. Buy yarn and other alpaca goods at Dove and Distaff Rug Gallery (also owned by Davis). Dove and Distaff Rug Gallery, 365 Main St., Wakefield, instagram.com/matunuckalpaca
Visit three llamas and eight alpacas at owner Bonnie Lambert’s twenty-five-acre farm, where there’s yarn, apparel such as hand knit hats, scarves and cowls, and felted llama toys for sale. You can also sign up for spinning classes. Schedule a visit via Facebook or phone. 82 Cucumber Hill Rd., Foster, 401-397-4355, facebook.com/bonnie.lambert.965