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Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas opens new farm store this year

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year.

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photos by Ashley Saari

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year.

  • Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas on Ashby Road in New Ipswich has opened a new farm store this year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, January 08, 2019 9:56AM

When you enter the garage of Sleeping Monk Farm Alpacas, on Ashby Road in New Ipswich, the animals are everywhere.

If you take a right, you step into the farm store, a new endeavor for the farm’s owners, Sue and Bob Evon. The small space, an entryway into their home, is filled with soft yarn from their own alpaca herd, and various products made from alpaca wool or felt. Alpacas cavort across knitted hats and socks, across decorative boxes and hang as ornaments from a miniature Christmas tree.

If you take a left, you can see the animals providing the wool that fills the store, housed in a barn attached to the garage.

Using a cane, Bob makes his way from the farm store across the garage, where he can look in on his herd of 48 animals.

He can pick out most by name, and takes special pride in pointing out Oliver, their seven-time champion, and Pippa, the herd’s friendliest alpaca, who has become somewhat of the farm’s ambassador.

“There are people that will stop by just to see Pippa,” Bob said.

Usually, they would be out in the pasture behind the Evon’s home, but on this occasion, icy rain has kept them inside, where they are munching on hay, and wandering over to the door to investigate their visitors.

Caring for their alpacas, selling the products from their wool and showing them at regional and national shows is now a full-time occupation for Sue and Bob. The farm started as a hobby while they were both teachers. Bob, seeing a news special about an alpaca farm in Vermont over 20 years ago, became intrigued.

“That was the first time I’d heard of them being raised in the United States,” Bob said. “I always wanted to do some farming. I did some research, and here we are.”

The couple started their farm with four animals – two females and two young alpaca, or cria – in 1998. Their herd has grown exponentially since then. Though their numbers are still healthy at nearly 50 animals, they are actually in the midst of downsizing their herd, now that they are both in retirement and in deference to Bob’s two knee replacements.

As part of that, Sue said, the couple decided this year to no longer pack up their inventory and tote it around to fairs and expos, but to open a farm store in their entryway.

To their surprise, Sue said, this year has been their best ever for sales.

Their store sells a variety of products, including spun wool from their own herd, and some products made from the yarn, including hats knit by Lucille Rines of New Ipswich. Some are products made by a regional cooperative the Evons send their fleece to, and some are made from high-quality alpaca wool from South America.

For more information, visit www.sleepingmonkfarm.com, or visit the farm store at 116 Ashby Road in New Ipswich between noon and 5 p.m. daily.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.