Alpaca farmers open store

Brian and Mary Ellen Rose, owners of BMR Acres have taken their alpaca farm to the next level. The two recently opened a store to sell alpaca products.

"This was all part of our master plan," said Brian Rose. Brian built a 12 by 20 square foot store on the property. He described the store as "quaint." Inside, shoppers will find a variety of products made from 100 percent alpaca fiber. Sweaters, gloves, scarves, hats, blankets, socks, rugs, baby booties, yarn and ready to spin fiber are some of the items for sale. They also sell stuffed animals, finger puppets and swifts. Brian's nephew ties flies for fishing with none other than alpaca fiber, which are sold at the store.

"We can also order unique items for anyone interested," said Mary Ellen Rose.

Brian said they plan to sell kids' farm-related wooden toys in the future.

"They will be high-end wooden toys," he said. "Nobody in the area has that."

Nobody in the area has a store that offers alpaca clothing either, although there are two other alpaca farms in Madison County.

The Roses had a 10-year plan they began working toward about five years ago. They purchased 23 acres of property on Pine Ridge Road in 2003 and started farming. Besides alpacas, the couple raises miniature donkeys, free range chickens, guinea fowl and ducks. They also grow much of their own produce and herbs and recently began raising garlic, which has been passed down from generation to generation from Brian's mother's side of the family. The heirloom garlic is planted directly into the ground and has not been genetically modified in any way.

The Roses grow pumpkins and hope to have five acres of the gourd planted next year to offer visitors a pick-your-own pumpkin patch experience complete with hayride. This year's crop didn't fare so well. Brian said they lost about 95 percent of it to deer. One of the reasons, Mary Ellen said, could be because they grow everything organically. No chemical pesticides or herbicides are used in the growing process. They weren't able to keep the deer away.

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