London, Ont., family gives up city life for more space and 100 alpacas
Family bought Meadowview Alpaca Farm in Bruce Mines, Ont. last fall
Last fall, as many hunkered down at home, the Veerman family of London, Ont., packed their bags and moved north to run an alpaca farm.
They were looking for more space in Northern Ontario, when they spotted a unique opportunity: Meadowview Alpaca Farm, for sale in Bruce Mines, Ont., a small town near the tip of Lake Huron, about an hour's drive from Sault Ste. Marie.
"We kind of laughed it away and said, 'yeah, that's not happening,'" said Pat Veerman. "But lo and behold, we followed through. And here we are."
He now shares the 155-acre property with his wife, two daughters, and 100 alpacas.
A woolly situation
On paper, the Veermans might not seem like the right fit for farm life — Terri is a vegetarian, Pat has allergies — but alpaca farming suited them well.
"We didn't want to end up having farm animals that we would have to put down or sell for meat," says Veerman. "And alpacas are hypoallergenic."
Then there was the matter of experience.
"We had zero," he says.
Meadowview Farm has already been a family business for about 20 years. Its former owners have agreed to stay on and mentor the Veermans for the next year.
The biggest challenge so far was learning to cope with the death of one of the animals this winter, Veerman says.
"We've been told that's the farming life, which is true," he says. "But you do get attached to them."
He says, now that the family has put down roots, they're looking ahead to the next two decades.
"We want to see what else we can do here ... and share it with everybody who wants to follow our journey."