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About Us

Welcome to Pepper Pot Farm (PPF)—home to our alpaca breeding business that is ideally situated in central New Jersey between Philadelphia and New York City. Our 10-acre farm with historic stone residence dates to 1730 and once served as safe passage on the Underground Railway during abolition. Today we are a hands-on boutique business with a herd that averages 25-30. Our principal focus is with elite, full Peruvian huacayas with a primary focus on white/fawn fiber colors.

Our Background
Two heads are better than one, and it’s certainly true with us. Together, we bring varied and complimentary skills to our alpaca business. Caroline is a physician---Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging and procedures. She has an interest in genetics and once upon a time considered becoming a vet. Ken is a designer and serial entrepreneur with numerous successful ventures to his credit. He was also a teacher at a private day school in Princeton, NJ for five years. We both share a deep and abiding love and respect for animals. Our alpaca venture is an ideal intersection for our shared interests, life and marriage.

How We Got Started
Our involvement with alpacas began in 2004 and enthusiastically continues to this day. After considerable research that included visits to numerous farms, we carefully selected our core foundation females, including our purchase in 2006 of the celebrated Misty Maiden who is widely recognized as the winningest female huacaya bloodline in the United States. She is deservedly known as the “Dam of the Century.” Since our purchase Misty has birthed three beautiful girls and one stellar boy. At Pepper Pot Farm we own more direct Misty Maiden offspring than any other alpaca farm. While Misty clearly sets a high bar, each of our champion foundation females is noteworthy for fleece, confirmation, and genetic bloodlines. At the outset we invested in the best and, like others in the industry, seek to improve with each successive generation.

A Note About Shows
When we first began looking to acquire our initial alpacas we chased ribbons, under the misguided belief that this was the only "measure" of an alpaca's quality. We quickly learned this is not so.  What we soon learned is that participation in the alpaca show circuit requires significant time and travel commitment of owners, faith in the "politics" of the system, dedicated halter training, and concern for an alpaca's health and well-being.  Certainly there is value in show participation, especially networking and promotion of one's farm name, and we would be the first to recognize this. For us the show circuit tips the balance of our life. While our alpaca business is a joint effort, we both maintain demanding schedules with our individual careers—Caroline as a physician-radiologist and Ken as owner of Gardensheds, Inc.  Raising and breeding elite alpacas consumes time enough here at our farm without having it completely define and monopolize our entire life. It's simply what works for us. Today, as experienced breeders we know that an alpaca's inherent value and worth can be judged independently of ribbons. The good news is that we are able to offer our elite alpacas at prices that are considerably below their market value.  We offer what we consider to be the highest "show" quality alpacas at reduced prices. Educated and discerning buyers will quickly recognize and appreciate our genetic bloodlines and quality fiber. We hear time and again from others, "Get that boy, or get that girl, in the show ring!" And so while a barn full of colorful ribbons and banners would be nice to display, what we care more about is maintaining a well-balanced life for ourselves and our alpacas that we lovingly tend to each day.

Romance & Reality:
Managing A Successful Alpaca Business
Initially, it’s hard not to be romantic about alpacas. They’re fuzzy, soft, cute and often evoke “love-at-first site” emotions. The bouncing playfulness of the crias can’t help but bring smiles and laughter to all. They’re playful and gentle with children. They hum and after awhile you’ll be humming along with them. They’re all that and more. And, yes, there are priceless moments and countless rewards from being in the grace of alpacas. But romance alone does not make a business.

Managing and running an alpaca business is rewarding, but it certainly is not a shortcut to a promised pot of gold. For an active owner/manager, the business of raising and breeding alpacas is a 24/7 affair. It is a lifestyle that requires equal amounts of patience and capital investment. Diligent planning, budgeting and attention to farm and herd will go a long way to help you succeed. Breeding alpacas requires acumen, prayers and unfaltering optimism that the next birth will reward you for all your efforts.

A Day in the Life
It’s going out to the barns and pastures on an early winter morning during a blizzard when it’s freezing and slippery while you’d rather be inside your house eating breakfast by the warmth of a fire. It’s constantly raking beans (easy in summer, harder in winter). It’s monthly injections and health maintenance. It’s occasionally getting spit on and kicked when you least expect it. It’s regular barn and pasture maintenance. It’s paperwork, record keeping, contracts, finance, marketing, accounting, photography, videos, organization memberships, halter training, shows, auctions, shearing, farm visits, online research, and breeding sessions. It’s limited vacations because you have to be home for a birthing. It’s bottle-feeding a cria every 2 hours ‘round the clock for 2 days because it’s slow to nurse. In short, breeding alpacas is constantly learning. Still interested?

In all fairness though, there is no day cold or wet enough to diminish the joy that comes from being with the alpacas. Each morning you are greeted with the same wide eyes and curiosity. There is no drudgery that surpasses the sheer joy of seeing a herd of alpacas clamoring to be hosed off in the heat of the summer sun or frolicking free in a wide green pasture at sunset.

In short, we’re going to tell you what we wish we had been told when we first started out. We’ll help you sort out the truth because only then will you know if it is something that you truly desire. In the end the business is about selling alpacas. No hard sell with us. If anything selling an alpaca that we have birthed, nurtured and raised for one or two years is a difficult proposition for us so we want to make sure it is a good fit for us both. For us a sale is a consequence of finding an ideal match between ourselves and a buyer—someone whose goals and aspirations for raising and breeding alpacas is in close alignment with ours.

It’s All About the Alpacas
Our alpacas are not simply livestock commodities. Rather, we see each alpaca as an individual with a unique personality. We recognize that each alpaca is a member of a close-knit matriarchal family of extended relationships. First and foremost we care about the welfare and well being of our alpacas. It all begins and ends with loving and caring for this wonderful creature.

 


Home of "Dam of the Century" Misty Maiden

Ken with Buttercup

Caroline with Sweet Baby James

Halter training

Lambertville, NJ • info@pepperpotfarm.com