Northern Ontario businesses featured at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Jo-Anne Burton’s husband wasn’t initially on board when she suggested starting up an alpaca farm but it’s safe to say the plan is working out.

Annual event takes place each November in Toronto

Jo-Anne Burton of Dream Acres Alpacas (left) smiles as she shows products from her business. Her business is one of many from northern Ontario featured at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. (Supplied/FedNor)

Jo-Anne Burton's husband wasn't initially on board when she suggested starting up an alpaca farm but it's safe to say the plan is working out.

The couple owns Dream Acres Alpacas in Black-River Matheson, Ont., and their business is currently featured at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

It's one of several businesses featured in the FedNor-funded Northern Ontario Agri-food Pavilion.

"Farming was always a dream of mine," Burton said.

"I always wanted to farm since I was a kid."

As for why she wanted a farm with alpacas, she says she saw one as a child and knew that was the animal for her.

"My husband thought I had lost my mind but he's on board and this is what we do full time," she said.

She and her husband bought their farm 12 ago years and have had the alpacas for 10 years. Currently, they have 45 alpacas and make a number of products, including mittens, socks, leg warmers and insoles.

Jo-Anne Burton says she and her husband own 45 alpacas. (Facebook/Dream Acres Alpacas)

Burton says this is the sixth year her business has attended the fair.

"Every year, we seem to see a growth," she said.

"We have a lot of our repeat customers come to see us. We see more people here in Toronto during this 10 day stint than we see in Timmins, pretty much the whole year."

The fair wraps up on Sunday.

Businesses from across the northeast are in southern Ontario to take part in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The CBC's Martha Dillman spoke with a couple of business owners from the north who are taking part. They told us more about their products and the importance of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. 5:58

With files from Martha Dillman