All posts by Llewellyn Alpaca

Llewellyn "Apo" Alpaca, man of the mountains, loyal subject of Viracocha, enjoyed a long career in transportation. It may have been 20 years ago or it may have been 20,000, for all you know. Although brown of coat, he was chosen to survive. He never offended the mighty jaguar. He retired, to join his ancestors in the cosmos. He blogs mostly on alpaca-related topics.

The Humane Yet Delectable Future For Alpaca Meat

Cas Cad Nac alpaca farm
The American alpaca story has not always been a pleasant one but the future is slowly brightening, thanks to farmers able to see the burgers amid the herds. Alpaca meat should probably have been part of the plan from the beginning; for those who have tried the burgers, of course, this is not news.

If you are in the U.S., have not yet tried alpaca, and have not found a local provider, you can easily satisfy your curiosity thanks to the wonderful folks at Cas-Cad-Nac Farm.

Here’s a recent news story highlighting these folks, who definitely get it.

The Lutzes didn’t eat alpaca meat until it became part of their business in 2011. They needed extra money because the economic crisis thwarted their livestock sales. Nobody was interested in spending $8-$25,000 on one of their alpaca, even if they were of the highest quality.

It was a way of generating revenue and profit at a time when the farm couldn’t support itself.

Click here to read the whole story.

As a llama, I feel I have particular standing to advocate for practical treatment of farm animals, because people going into the business with rose-colored glasses have been bad for everyone.

And by the way, Christmas is just around the corner…

Starving Alpacas Taken In By Washington State Humane Society

Starving alpacas
Decidedly Not Cool: Undernourished alpacas were found by Humane Society of Cowlitz County.

Yet another well-meaning but misguided “alpaca lifestyle” experiment has resulted in a farm full of starving alpacas, this time in the Woodland area of Cowlitz County in the state of Washington.

More than 20 of my brethren were found undernourished, one of whom died and all of whom were “in very rough shape,” according to the director of the local Human Society.

Harvey said that at one point, the Woodland-area alpaca farm was “a good operation.” He said he never had any suspicion the farm wasn’t being properly run. However, Shari Bond, co-founder of Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue, said she believes the farm has been operating poorly “for a very long time — a lot longer than anyone realized.”

This incompetent Woodland alpaca farm owner joins a sorry parade of jackasses who mistreated the animals they never should have owned in the first place. Although in my opinion such morons deserve to be dropped from a high cliff in the Andes, there is some consolation in the fact they likely lost a massive amount of cash on the venture and will pay for the mistake for years to come. But I am an animal lover, and an animal, so there is some bias.

A major irony lies in the fact the whole nasty mess could have been avoided if this misguided farmer and so many others had simply discovered the book with the answer to most alpaca-related problems. We, like you, would rather be killed humanely than starved.

Alpaca Business Reporting Shows Why We Don’t Trust Reporting

alpaca business in northwest
There but for the grace of the Alpaca Burger Cookbook ….

The annual Northwest Alpaca Showcase is in Washington this week, for a competition – as the local CBS News reports – for the highest quality fleece award.

Alpacas fleece is used in the making of high-end apparel…

The breeders say some of the alpacas cost as much as seven thousand dollars to breed with.

But the return is definitely worth the investment.

I will take this opportunity to point out, once again, that alpaca fleece may be wonderful in a thousand different ways, but even selling at the highest price point, the average alpaca farmer is unlikely to earn more than $80 per year from selling fleece.

As this 2011 study found, that is less than half the annual maintenance cost of an alpaca – not to mention the “seven thousand dollars” investment noted in the CBS report. Some might say that is a simple oversight, while others might say it is a pretty important metric.

An yet others might say, “Gee, if there were only some other use for those alpacas ….”

Australian Alpaca Meat Is What’s For Dinner

australian alpaca meat
You call that a burger?

In his travelogue, Down Under, author Bill Bryson observed among the Aussies a hidden mirth, as though they had put one over on the British by virtue of having been exiled to such a superior island. One might discern the same secret joy within the Australian Alpaca industry, which is slowly transforming into the Australian alpaca meat industry.

Having perhaps struck out in the fleece side of the business, Australian alpaca farmers are pushing a public relations campaign to educate their countrymen about another purpose for the stately creatures.

A group of Western Australian growers is putting alpaca meat on dinner plates, promoting its buttery texture and comparing the flavour to milk fed veal.

In the barely three decades since their introduction to Australia, alpacas have been traditionally marketed as cute creatures that grow luxurious fibre for clothing.

But alpaca farmers like Mahlon Hotker from Albany on the state’s south coast is keen to expand into the protein game and is starting to trickle alpaca meat cuts into butchers and high end restaurants.

Click here to read the whole thing.

By sheer coincidence, the world’s only alpaca-focused ground meat cookbook is also available in Australia.

When The Alpaca Bubble Burst, A Burger Emerged

alpaca bubble burst
Here is another look at the failure of the fleece, the tumbling tetrahedron, the burst alpaca bubble … ultimately, the birth of the burger.

Like the ostriches, chinchillas, Dutch tulips, miniature pigs, and monorails, alpacas seemed like a good idea at the time.

Known for their calm temperaments and soft fleece, alpacas looked like the next hot thing to backyard farmers. The market was frenetic, with some top of the line animals selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the bubble burst, leaving thousands of alpaca breeders with near-worthless herds.

Click here to read the whole thing.

All joshing aside, there has been plenty of tragedy to go around, with this alpaca deal. In the story, there are supposedly alpacas being sold on Craigslist for a buck, and one of those interviewed is trying to sell his for $100 each. Back in the day, in the early 2000s, when everyone apparently was high on ayahuasca, alpacas were selling for $10,000 or more each.

For $10,000, an alpaca yields around 150 delicious, albeit shockingly pricey, burgers.

At $100 per alpaca, the equation changes remarkably.

So as much as we hate to see people lose their savings, we are pleased to be able to offer a road map to a practical solution.

The long, sad American alpaca business story

alpaca business decline
For anyone still wondering why the world needs a good alpaca cookbook right about now, a perusal of the current state of the alpaca industry in America might answer the question. The story of the alpaca business is a poignant tale, indeed.

The long, sad decline of the United States’ alpacas

The fall 2015 cover of Modern Farmer features a svelte model with the hair of Lyle Lovett and the eyes of a seal pup. Her neck is long, her lashes are full, and skin looks like a fine sweater. She is an alpaca, and according to the cover, her time has come.

Alas, Modern Farmer is a little late to the game on this one. After a surge in alpaca popularity gave breeders hope of cashing in and retiring to the islands, the fuzzy guys are on their way out …

Click here to read the whole thing.

Mugs and More at the Gift Store

If you haven’t visited the AlpacaBurger Store lately, be sure to stop by when you are browsing for a unique and entertaining coffee/tea mug, and all sorts of alpaca gifts, for yourself or that special, alpaca-loving someone.

Here are a few of the current options to make your drinking moments a little more special.

Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Mug
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Mug. Most of us take our alpaca the same way we take our coffee: Lovingly prepared and carefully heated for as long as it takes to get the flavor just right. This gorgeous contrast mug is available in several color combinations; Scratch-proof and durable, lead and cadmium free. **$13.90** Fall-Winter Sale Price
Traveling Alpacas Mug
Traveling Alpacas Mug. Your co-workers will say “Whaaaa?!” when they see your one-of-a-kind tribute to the alpaca. When it’s time for the alpacas to go, there are only a few places they CAN go, and perhaps the only really practical one is to the smoking hot grill. But if folks want to take their alpacas on vacation, then we should tell them, “It’s ok.” Let the world know you have an open mind about this sort of thing. Multiple color options; full-color (inside and outside); lead and cadmium free. **$14.50** Fall-Winter Sale Price
I Love Alpacas! Mug
I Love Alpacas! Mug. How much do you love alpacas? A lot. And how exactly do you love alpacas? As burgers. That’s what we tell each other to begin every day, and it seems to be working out pretty well. So, a good mug to have. Contrasting trim and handle. Scratch-proof and durable; lead and cadmium free. **$13.90** Fall-Winter Sale Price
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Travel Mug
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Travel Mug. Time to head off to work at the salt mine or the alpaca farm, with a hot cup of your favorite beverage and a clear commitment to making every alpaca count, whether out in the pasture or home on the grill. Closeable travel mug, made of stainless steel, rubber and plastic. **$17.90** Fall-Winter Sale Price
When Life Gives You Alpacas .... Coasters
When Life Gives You Alpacas …. Coasters. There is an approach to life we call the Alpaca Burger Philosophy, but you don’t have to be grinding up alpaca meat to follow it. It means we look past problems and we look toward solutions, and that is precisely where the Alpaca Burger comes in. Hardboard gloss with cork bottom. **$18.90** Fall-Winter Sale Price

Check out all the choices for gifts and apparel at the AlpacaBurger Store.

Cookbook Summary

For anyone who happens upon this Web site and says to themselves, “This all seems odd,” here is a capsule summary of Joe’s Original Alpaca Burger Cookbook.

Every day, in kitchens across North America, home cooks face the challenge of making healthy, economical meals. Meanwhile, countless alpaca farmers wonder: What can we do with these animals?

The surprising answer for the two may lie in this unique new volume. It began as a road map for unhappy alpaca owners and anyone else who wants to give alpaca meat a try. But the end result is a wide-ranging culinary guidebook for turning the basic into something epic.

As ground meat, most of the alpaca is both usable and tasty. Of course, ground meats of all types—beef, poultry, lamb, and pork—have been staples in home kitchens for generations, but are often considered boring. The hamburger can be inexpensive, but can also be monotonous.

Even if you don’t have any alpaca, this cookbook provides easy ways to prepare interesting dishes, even on weeknights. Styles of cuisine covered include Eastern European, French, Indian, Thai, Javanese, Tex-Mex, Jamaican, along with more familiar-sounding concoctions and, of course, burgers.

For so many of us, alpacas and ground meats have each, in their own way, proven disappointing. How ironic that bringing them together may be the salvation of both. When life gives you alpacas, make burgers.

Cold Weather AlpacaBurger Apparel Now Available

As the chill sets in across North America, our cozy AlpacaBurger winter attire lineup just became available at the AlpacaBurger Store. Your one-stop shop for alpaca gifts and wardrobe enhancements.

Here are some of the top new items. Prices on everything have been cut by 20 percent through the end of December.

I Love Alpacas! Women's Hoodie
I Love Alpacas! Women’s Hoodie. Quality you can feel and a message you can wear with pride: It’s the sweatshirt everyone will love, and the sandwich everyone will want. This premium sweatshirt is warm and cozy with a tailored and feminine fit. **$41.40** Fall-Winter Sale Price
Traveling Alpacas Women's Hoodie
Traveling Alpacas Women’s Hoodie. Cold weather’s a comin’ but we can still think about alpacas, and beaches, and those beaches with the alpacas. And the burgers with the alpacas, also. This women’s premium hoodies is 80% cotton / 20% polyester with combed-cotton exterior and fuzzy fleece interior. **$42.40 Fall-Winter Sale Price
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Track Jacket
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Track Jacket. The cool weather is almost here, perfect for the warm, silky comfort of this top-quality athletic jacket – for the man or woman in your life who understands the value of the most delicious alpaca-based sandwich in the world. Urban Fleece, for Men and Women, 100% cotton. Reinforced, double-knit stitching throughout. **$38.70** Fall-Winter Sale Price
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Hoodie
Warm. Cuddly. Alpaca Burger Hoodie. Does this describe the wearer or the alpaca? Because you will both be warm and cuddly with this quality hooded sweatshirt, and when the holiday parties start so does the marinating – am I right? Simple, comfortable, stylish, for men or women; 80% cotton / 20% polyester. **$38.40** Fall-Winter Sale Price

And that is just a sampling. Visit the AlpacaBurger Store today for gifts and apparel for every member of the family.