Rockbridge alpaca farm celebrates National Alpaca Farm Day

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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY (WDBJ7) At first you might think it’s cattle grazing out in the field.

Until one of those fuzzy heads pops up.

“We started with four animals initially, one which was pregnant," says Janis Conlon, anowner with her husband of Ridge Valley Alpacas. "And we now have 62 on our farm, I believe.”

That would be alpacas.

“I mean, I love it. I love them," she says. "They’re my passion.”

It's a business that started as a way to keep the grass under control.

“Who would have known?" Janis' husband John asks. "You know, we both spent most of our lives in Charlotte working in the business communities doing different things, nothing to do with agriculture.”

“You know, if I look back, I’m thinking: never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be doing this,” Janis Conlon says.

Yet here they are.

“So we’re not setup to actually open our doors yet, because there’s a lot of inventory that needs to be put out,” she says, opening the door to
a retail shop opening Saturday to sell the soft wool produced by the animals quietly grazing outside. It's geared to sell all things alpaca, many produced locally.

“This shawl over here is actually made locally by a friend of mine,” Conlon says.

All growing out of an unexpected love for alpacas.

“They relax me," she says. "They’re so Peaceful.”