Ocean City Today

Delaware farm holds annual spring shearing for alpacas

By Kara Hallissey | Apr 12, 2018
Photo by: Kara Hallissey Fifteen alpacas on the Nuevo Mundo Farm in Selbyville, Delaware, which is owned by Liz Ferguson and Jose Palma, had their coats sheared on Wednesday morning.

(April 13, 2018) Fifteen alpacas on the Nuevo Mundo Farm in Selbyville had their coats sheared on Wednesday morning.

This annual springtime event at the farm owned by Liz Ferguson and Jose Palma occurs before warmer weather rolls in because alpacas do not shed their coats and can overheat.

“The four of us started three weeks ago and we will be shearing seven days a week until the end of June,” said Joel “Jay” Mariacher, a professional shearer from New Hampshire. “We hope to be home by the Fourth of July and in that time, we will shear 3,500 alpacas, 1,200 sheep and some goats.”

Mariacher has already sheared animals in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. Next, his team will visit farms throughout Delaware and Maryland.

Shearing 15 alpacas on the Nuevo Mundo Farm took about four hours on Wednesday and produced approximately 49 pounds of fiber, Ferguson said.

The fiber is taken to a facility in Tennessee where it is cleaned and milled into yarn, which can take up to three months, she said.

“I like to knit and have made sweaters, rugs, scarves, ponchos and shawls [using the sheared coats from her alpacas],” Ferguson said.

Ferguson and her husband started their Selbyville farm two years ago. She hopes to expand her homemade alpaca fiber garments into a proprietary brand.

Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ferguson and Palma have a booth at the Ocean Pines Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market on Ocean Parkway. They always bring two friendly alpacas for visitors to meet.

Alpaca yarn, scarves, shawls and socks are available for purchase at nuevomundoalpaca.com.

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