Cota Farms' Blog

April 5, 2013

Alpaca Still On The Menu

We have had more and more interest in alpaca as a food source for both people and dogs that cannot tolerate many other foods.  I haven’t had the time to research just why alpaca doesn’t cause the problems that other foods can but I do know that it is an exceptional meat that has no trouble competing with beef, pork, lamb or poultry for taste and nutrition.  It is very lean, more like venison than beef or lamb.

I have to write of our small accomplishment here as it will otherwise go unnoticed, but we were the first farm in the States that openly retailed alpaca.  I understand that there are others now of course, out west mostly, but we also with the help of our favorite chef were able to get it onto the menu of the first restaurant to offer it.  I am proud to say that after more than five years it is still on the menu at The Refectory in Columbus OH.

Unfortunately for us it seems the demand for this excellent meat is growing far from our market place and other farms will ultimately benefit more than we from this new food.  It is new here but has been eaten for a long time in other parts of the world.  I won’t go into why or how we first came to using alpaca meat in this article or the prospects of it becoming more widely used but I do what to make one point.  Alpaca meat is relatively expensive and so not suitable for a dog food staple.  It is not part of the commercial meat industry and will remain high in price.  I believe the new and very trendy emergence of restaurants with alpaca on the menu is as a result of the temporary availability of cheap animals that are being dumped. Won’t say any more about that as it would surely not gain me any friends.

We will continue to carry a small amount of this superb meat as well as alpaca dog treats and bones but for larger orders we suggest purchasing a whole animal and have it custom butchered.  As a service to our customers we will help to obtain and transport your alpaca.

August 5, 2012

We Were the First

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cota Farms @ 11:35 am
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I got a call yesterday from the Alpaca Meat Council.  I expected to see others copy what we had done, but that is not what really happened.  They just saw what was obvious and did it.  Since these people had more resources than we did they were able to do it bigger and better too.

I am talking about taking some of the excess alpaca population and turning them into food.  This is nothing new or special as alpaca has been eaten in South America for hundreds of years but it hadn’t been done here before.  Unless someone challenges us I would like to formally claim the distinction as being the first farm in the United States to do this.  We were not the first in North America as there was a Canadian farm that did it before us.  I don’t know if this farm is still in operation but I do know they did get some push back on this.

But this is about Cota Farms and our being the first to do this here.  Yes, alpaca was available before we offered it but that was just imported meat.  We were also the first to put it in an upscale restaurant; it has been on the menu there for at least five years.

We were also the first to see the potential of this product as high quality pet food.  We still sell alpaca but in small quantities.  Another advantage that others have over us is their markets.  Here in Ohio there is little interest for this meat, except as pet food.  Over the years I have received requests for alpaca meat from distant states but never here.  I have had to educated people and promote the meat here and I have come to realize that there are just not enough people willing to try it or spend the money on it.  It is not inexpensive.

Our little farm will never get the attention that the bigger operations are already getting and no one will ever think of Cota Farms when alpaca meat becomes more popular but I can still smile and remember that WE WERE THE FIRST!

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