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!