It all started with 2 alpacas...
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. Alpacas entered the Olson's lives when Albert and Kris bid on a pair of alpacas at a local charity auction, won, and instantly fell in love with the gentle creatures. For many years, the Olsons bred their alpacas, growing the herd, attending shows, winning many ribbons. They traveled to Peru several times to discover the origins of their herd and meet producers of alpaca fiber and apparel makers. They stocked their 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 this land and their animals. The farm was lightly renamed "The Farm at Krystal Acres" and a new era of the farm began!
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. 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. 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 where the fibers you put against your skin have come from, 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 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 vegetable garden, 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
At it's largest, the Olson's herd reached 80 alpacas. Now a herd of 57 alpacas, these mild mannered animals, most born and bred on the farm, enjoy the gentle slopes of sunny pastures and the shade of massive 100 year oaks. Stroll around the farm and then browse a curated selection of alpaca sweaters, coats, scarves, blankets and cuddly alpaca toys in the Country Store. It's picture-perfect year round, so drop by when you come and visit the beautiful San Juans.