By Joan Slowey Dellet ~
Maybe you’ve seen them. Or you saw something but couldn’t be sure what you were seeing. You’re driving down Allaire Road in Wall Township when you notice beautiful, rolling, green farmland with animals peacefully grazing. Wait – are those llamas, you ask yourself.
Close. They are alpacas. That’s right – alpacas. Natives of the Andes in South America. Here at the Jersey Shore!
In 2005, when John Edelhauser decided he wanted to retire from his tech job on Wall Street, he knew he would still need to find something to keep him busy. John found the sprawling farmland property in Wall first, an iconic gentleman’s farm that had been left largely intact from the early part of the century. In 2010, he began developing the property and the farm in the hopes of creating a space for the community to enjoy. John needed to decide what he was going to raise on the beautiful 14 acres of land. He knew he didn’t want to do any milking or slaughtering. So he did what all of us do when we need more information in order to make a decision – he Googled which animal is easiest to raise. And that’s how there came to be alpacas on Allaire Road in Wall.
It is definitely a lifestyle choice. Starting with 6 pregnant females, Edel Haus Farms has grown to now house 35 alpacas. And as far as ease of upkeep, caring for alpacas involves only four things: hay, water, feed and cleaning up poop.
Unlike llamas, alpacas are not bred to be working animals, but are bred specifically for their fiber. So, once a year in May, the animals at Edel Haus Farms are shorn and the raw fiber is sent bagged by color to a mill for processing. The processed fiber is then sent to a manufacturer for products to be created, which are sold at Edel Haus Farm. Alpaca fleece is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, is naturally water-repellent and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. The alpaca yarn is crafted into a variety of wearable items – from socks, sweaters and hats to scarves, ponchos, blankets and rugs. Sales of these products help support the farm.
Community involvement is crucial to the mission of Edel Haus Farm and they invite local groups on an appointment basis. Brownies, Boy and Girl Scouts, high school photography classes, special needs groups, or senior citizens’ outings are just some of the groups that have taken advantage of all that Edel Haus Farm has to offer.
In 2016, John decided to build a barn on the property for his daughter’s wedding. Pictures were posted on line and quickly went viral. Soon, John began getting requests from others to hold events in the barn. Currently, only daytime events are hosted in this unique, distinctive space but what a way to differentiate your event!!
Edel Haus Farm offers a cultural experience for families, provides a place for people to come and find peace with the animals and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The farm is open every Saturday from 11am – 4pm and the public is invited to stop by to spend time with the friendly herds.
Edel Haus Farms is located at 2660 Allaire Road in Wall, NJ. You can check them out at www.edelhausalpacas.com or call them at 732-890-1024