Northshore Magazine

Northshore September 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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211 CO N TAC T Alpaca Naturals 75 Crane Neck St. West Newbury 978-912-7941 location, latrine-like. Interestingly, some farmers and gardeners have started incorporating their pellet- shaped manure into their soils to boost nutrient levels. (Their waste is very nitrogen dense.) "It's considered the black gold of the Andes," chuckles Badger. "Their digestive system is very efficient—they have two stom- achs—so you don't have to compost the manure to use it. You can put these pellets straight into the garden." Cosgrove notes that teaching people the value of it excites interest (and demand). "Why go to Home Depot for compost?" she asks. Also in terms of education, Badger and Cosgrove have been known to host Girl Scout troops and schoolchildren to teach them about the animals. "We don't mind sharing it—it's like a show-and-tell," says Cosgrove. "It makes it really fun—it's not just the farmwork." People are pretty wowed by the animals, which reminds the couple, once again, how special they are. The Scouts will send thank-you notes with hand-drawn alpacas—it is an experience that really stays with them. "It shows that it counts. A lot of people don't get exposed to a backyard farm," says Cosgrove, noting that there are many lessons afforded young people when work- ing with and caring for animals. Since their alpacas don't produce enough fiber to work with on any kind of commercial scale, the gar- ments the couple sells online are imported from Peru. "At this point," Badger says fondly of his pack, "they are more a hobby. They are just part of my life now." Autumn is the perfect time of year to get cozy with some alpaca garments. Support your local alpaca farm! Visit Left, The alpacas are shorn every spring. Below, Melanie and Pat enjoy their property, as do all of their animals.

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