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From Alpaca to Sweater: HV Fiber Farming

Get up close with some cuddly local llamas, alpacas, sheep, and goats.

by Lynn Freehill-Maye
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Sheep and goats are classic Hudson Valley grazers, and in the past few years, a handful of regional farmers have added adorable llamas and alpacas, too. These South American natives, members of the camelid family, are not only lovable, but also are known for producing soft, warm fiber.

Remy the alpaca of Clover Brooke Farm. (Photo: Courtesy Clover Brooke Farm)

You can visit camelids and their sheep and goat friends — plus buy sweater-weather-ready clothing and soft household goods — at some key valley outposts. At some, you can even hike with a llama, take a loofah-making class, or glimpse what might be your first huarizo (a llama-alpaca cross valued for its gentleness) or Pygora goat (a Pygmy-Angora cross known for its long, amazing fleece).

A Pygora goat at Clover Brooke Farm. (Photo: Courtesy Clover Brooke Farm)

In an agriculture industry that has been diversifying, many of the Hudson Valley’s leading farms raising fluffy alpacas, llamas, sheep, and goats are woman-owned to boot. Here’s the lowdown on four standout fiber stops.

Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Company, Red Hook

Sheep heading out to graze at the Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Co. farm. (Photo: Courtesy Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Co.)

Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Co. founder Mary Godesky has raised livestock since since 1978. Eventually she settled on sheep, focusing on Icelandic and Shetland breeds. But when other area farmers downsized their flocks, Godesky often took on theirs, and she now has Coopworth sheep as well, plus Romney, Dorset-Rambouillet, and Shetland-Merino crosses. Together the 84 animals provide all the fiber needed for hats, mitts, pocketbooks, and ponchos. The farm offers monthly “spin-ins,” workshops any fiber crafter can join. Visitors also enjoy taking in farm views, watching Great Pyrenees guard dog Luna or “official greeter” Blackie, a now-gray sheep, at work.

Clover Brooke Farm, Hyde Park

Percy the llama of Clover Brooke Farm. (Photo: Courtesy Clover Brooke Farm)

In 2016, an 1850 Hyde Park homestead became the permanent home of Clover Brooke Farm — and ultimately, its 11 llamas, 15 alpacas, 36 Shetland and Finn sheep, and six Pygora goats. Owner Andrea Parent-Tibbetts, a retired school administrator and first-generation farmer, is passionate about ag education, opening up Clover Brooke to FFA, 4-H, and college groups, and starting next year, summer campers. Kids and adults alike can come for llama and alpaca hikes and goat walks, as well as “Llamate Yoga” with the animals. Cool classes like beer-brewing and lavender loofah-making are on offer, too.

Lilymoore Farm, Pleasant Valley

A group of alpacas at Lilymoore Farm. (Photo: Jessica Zindren / Lilymoore Farm)

On Pleasant Valley farmland that’s been producing since way back in 1840, Lilymoore Farm has been raising alpacas since 2015. Its operation is now up to 27 alpacas, two huarizos, and one llama, plus goats, horses, and a pig. This year the farm launched its own product company, American Made Alpaca, using fiber that’s taken nearby to Massachusetts to be made into socks, hats, gloves, blankets, and more. Stop in for alpaca treks and farm tours on weekends from April through November, or to visit the farm’s rare poultry sanctuary, Dreaming of a Chance, which specializes in rescuing chickens.

Catskill Merino, Warwick

A merino ewe at Catskill Merino. (Photo: Hannah Maxwell)

Taking over in 2018 from the late longtime shepherd Eugene Wyatt, who started Catskill Merino in the 1980s, Dominique Herman soon moved the flock of nearly 300 sheep to a beautiful home near Warwick. The farm’s copious annual quantities of fine wool gets spun into yarn at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont. While Herman mostly works alone and hasn’t yet been able to accommodate visitors, plans are in the works for Catskill Merino farm visits and a seasonal farm store by summer 2022. 

Inspired to visit and snuggle up yet? If not, here’s one last look at some adorable baby goats. Enjoy!

Baby goats at Clover Brooke Farm. (Photo: Courtesy Clover Brooke Farm)
Lynn Freehill-Maye is managing editor of Scenic Hudson’s HV Viewfinder. She is also a Hudson Valley-based sustainability writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Sierra, Civil Eats, CityLab, Modern Farmer, and beyond.

Dalvin Aboagye contributed reporting.

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Hudson Valley Viewfinder is a collaborative, community digital magazine sharing what inspires us about the beautiful Hudson Valley. We publish original stories and multimedia content about all things sustainable in the region along the Hudson River — including agriculture, science, wildlife, outdoor recreation, green transportation, environmental justice, and more.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

We’re always looking for ideas around our main topic areas of Climate Solutions, Land + Air + Water, Plants + Animals, History + Culture, Outdoors, and Community.
  • Journalists and writers who have deep familiarity with New York and the Hudson Valley, we’d love to have you contribute! Please do introduce yourself by email, sharing writing samples and any relevant pitches you may have.
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We’re always looking for ideas around our main topic areas of Climate Solutions, Land + Air + Water, Plants + Animals, History + Culture, Outdoors, and Community.
  • Journalists and writers who have deep familiarity with New York and the Hudson Valley, we’d love to have you contribute! Please do introduce yourself by email, sharing writing samples and any relevant pitches you may have.
  • Photographers and videographers, we’d love to hear from you and see what you do. Please send along a portfolio with images or footage that showcases your best and/or most relevant work, with an emphasis on anything captured outdoors. 
  • Illustrators, we commission artwork on the regular. Drop us a note with some of the beauty you’ve created.
  • Media Partners & Social Media Influencers, we welcome opportunities to team up on series and campaigns. Reach out with any background about yourselves and your ideas.
  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

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