Whether you’re a fiber enthusiast who enjoys knitting and crocheting, or you like to visit with friendly farm animals, you’ll certainly enjoy an afternoon outing to Arrow Acres Alpaca Farm in Wall Township, New Jersey.
The family-owned farmstead, a short drive from our beach house rental in Belmar, sits on 16 wooded acres off New Bedford Road. The owners, Don and Dee Sherman, run the farm and retail store, known as The Coop, with help from their grown daughters and grandchildren — three generations in all.
During our recent visit on a crisp, sunny Saturday, Don introduced us to his family’s herd of Huacaya alpacas. They gently took baby carrots through the fence and nibbled on hay while our small tour group took turns snapping photos of the adorable animals.
RELATED: Explore The Belmar Treasure Trail
According to the Alpaca Owners Association, “Alpacas (vicugña pacos) are members of the Camelid family and are a domesticated species of the South American camelid. Camelids originated in North America over 40 million years ago. Camels migrated east via the Bering Strait and llamas migrated to South America. Today, there are five recognized camelids breeds: camels, llamas, guanacos, alpacas, and vicunas. They vary by size and purpose, some being used primarily as pack animals and others valued for their fiber.”
Alpacas live an average of 20 years and are considered livestock animals. They are sociable creatures and do best living in a herd with at least two other alpacas. Males and females are usually kept in separate fields to keep harmony in the herd.
At Arrow Acres Farm, the alpacas are sheared every spring, before the summer heat sets in. Their fleece is processed and spun into the softest yarn, which then can be knitted and crocheted into socks, scarves, collar wraps, gloves, blankets, and other apparel.
Alpaca fleece comes in various colors, from silver and rose gray, to black, white, brown, and beige. The spun yarn can be used in its natural hue or hand-dyed to create unique color combinations. Alpaca yarn is hypoallergenic, highly resistant to water, and lighter than wool yarn.
Arrow Acres alpaca yarn may be purchased in person at The Coop or via their Etsy shop.
Visiting The Farm
Although Arrow Acres does not charge an admission fee for tours, donations to the alpacas' “carrot fund” are greatly appreciated.
In addition to offering tours and operating their farm store, Arrow Acres Alpaca Farm offers knitting and crocheting lessons. Classes are taught by one of the Sherman’s daughters, Leanne, and are tailored for beginners, as well as those with more knitting experience.
RELATED: Belmar Honey – How Sweet It Is
The Sherman family also exhibits their alpacas in national and regional competitions, including the North American Alpaca Show and the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.
For those who enjoy reading, two of the Sherman's daughters hold cocktail hour book club meetings every month via Zoom.
The farm and store are open most weekends in the fall, winter and spring, but closed to the public after Memorial Day. They reopen on the last weekend in September to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days. (NOTE: The farm is closed the weekend of October 15 and 16, but will reopen the following weekend.)
Did You Know? Wall Township has two alpaca farms! Edel Haus Alpaca Farm, at 2660 Allaire Road, is open year-round and has a modest admission fee of $2.00 for children and $5.00 for adults. Next door, you’ll also find Allaire Lavender Farm, which is an offshoot of Princeton Lavender Farm in Mercer County, New Jersey.
Arrow Acres Alpaca Farm
2021 Bentz Road
Wall, New Jersey 07719
Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
Day trips down the shore are fun, but it's even better to rent a beach house for the week to experience everything wonderful about the Belmar area. For couples, solo adults and small families, the two-bedroom Blue Hydrangea Cottage rental in Belmar, New Jersey, is the perfect getaway place. The home sleeps up to four people and is consistently rated five stars for cleanliness, amenities and location. Learn more at www.vacationinbelmar.com.