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O U R    S T O R Y

The Farm at Krystal Acres

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Photograph: Patrick Nye @pnyeguy

First . . .  a  little history

The Farm at Krystal Acres is a 40 acre family-run farm on scenic San Juan Island in Washington State. First developed as an alpaca farm back in 1996,  "Crescent Moon Alpaca Ranch" moved its operation to Central Oregon (where the Ranch continues to thrive, today) and the Olson family took over and renamed the property "Krystal Acres" in the early 2000's. The Olson's ran the farm for 18 years, breeding their alpacas to grow the herd, attending shows around the country, and winning many ribbons. They traveled to Peru to discover the origins of alpacas and meet producers of alpaca fiber as well as apparel makers. They stocked their country store with yarns and products made from their animals and milled in Canada, as well as buying from their Peruvian connections, supporting local artisans and crafts people working with the fiber there. In 2021, the Olson's retired from alpaca farming and the Brahic-Kusner family took over the stewardship of the land and the animals. The farm was lightly renamed "The Farm at Krystal Acres" and a new era of the farm began.

The Kusner's are very keen to be involved in their local "Fibershed", a push that seeks to return to a more localized and sustainable production of fiber a.k.a. the "slow fiber" movement. With the growing interest in the ecological harms of the textile industry, there is a desire to return to both natural and local fibers here in the US. Much like the last decade of farming has yielded a return to locally grown, sustainable food and knowing where your food comes from, the slow fiber movement wants to expand on that concept to include knowing the origins of the fibers you put against your skin, and how they were handled and processed in manufacturing. Joining the Climate Beneficial Fiber Pool and the local Agricultural Guild have been the Kusner's first steps towards this goal. Operating the farm using regenerative agricultural practices such as rotational grazing, natural soil improvements and amendments, diversifying the flora, planting hedgerows and an orchard for bird and insect habitat and trees for shade, raising bees, and working with the Conservation District to reforest certain areas of the property as well as riparian restoration along it's streams are all systems and practices being put into place to ensure that the farm flourishes for years to come. Other plans for the future are investing in solar power, adding to the native Garry Oaks, a botanical dye flower garden and an educational program. Offering classes to teach the next generations about where textiles come from and how they are made, as well as the benefits of supporting local farming, fiber farming and regenerative agriculture are all important parts of improving the environment, and the outlook for our future.

about The Farm at KRYSTAL ACRES today

Ever-changing, the herd size typically sits between 50 and 60 alpacas. These mild mannered animals, many born and bred on the farm, enjoy the gentle slopes of grassy fields and the shade of massive 100 year oaks. Stroll in the walkways between our pastures, observe the animals and their quirky personalities as they graze and nap in the grass. Their appearance is ever-changing, as they go from their spindly, shorn Summer-looks to their giant, floofy Winter attire! Ask us about the animals and our farm-to-fiber process; we are always happy to talk about what we do here at Krystal Acres. Buy a baggie of feed in the farm store if you want to have a closer encounter with the alpacas. We tell people that alpacas are more like cats than dogs... they socialize with humans on their own terms, and a little (farm provided alpaca) food goes a long way in getting a chance to see them up close and maybe even sneak in a pet of their incredibly soft fleece.

Join us in the Farm Store to browse a selection of soft alpaca hats, socks, gloves, blankets, sweaters, coats, scarves, yarns and cuddly alpaca toys as well as lots of adorable alpaca themed items, from t-shirts, books, craft projects, lunchboxes, stickers and much more. Shopping in the store, whether for a bag of feed or a blanket, is what supports the farm and keeps us open and free to visitors year round. So we thank you in advance for your purchases big and small! They are all very appreciated and we hope you enjoy the farm experience as well as your store purchases once you get home!

It's picture-perfect here year round, so drop by when you come and visit the beautiful San Juan Islands! 



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