Kirk’s Alpaca Farm, located in Three Hills, Alberta, between Calgary and Edmonton, is a great place for families and curious individuals alike to learn about the rural lifestyle and all things alpaca. Josee Kirk, owner and operator, alongside her husband, first thought of the idea for the farm when she saw a unique advertisement online.
“I felt like we had this beautiful property and it was being wasted with nothing on it. And then I saw thirty-eight alpacas for sale online,” says Kirk.
After talking with her husband, they decided to take the plunge into alpaca ranching. They now care for eighty-seven alpacas, some of which they bred themselves.
“Alpacas are amazing creatures, and one thing we’ve figured out over the last two years, is that they all have their own personalities,” says Kirk. “Some of them are more playful than others, some of them are less shy than others, and it’s so cute.”
The desire to share their alpacas with others quickly followed, and Kirk opened up her property for people to visit in August of 2020. Guests can come and immerse themselves in the alpaca ranching experience, even having the opportunity to feed the alpacas by hand.
“The alpacas, I never get bored of them,” says Kirk. “They’re cute, they’re funny, they’re weird looking, they’re gorgeous, so that’s obviously exciting.”
Since then, Kirk’s operation has expanded to include a number of other activities and animals. There’s now a basketball court, plasma cars, swings, slides, and more. Sometimes the farm even has puppies for sale. It’s all a part of the attraction that brings people back again and again.
“We get a lot of families and some of them bring picnics. We have some that come back and bring different family members. It’s just a great experience that they can enjoy. Not only the alpacas, but also the playground, the view, the garden, and the chickens—it’s wonderful.”
As people from all over the province, and even the world, come to visit the farm, Kirk began to see an opportunity for education.
“One of our goals is to teach our guests where their food comes from,” says Kirk. “When guests come, they can feed our chickens and it’s kind of neat when guests ask, ‘Do these eggs come from your chickens?’ And I’m like, ‘Totally, the ones you just fed!’”
Guests can purchase not only eggs from the farm, but vegetables right from the garden as well, providing further opportunities for learning.
“The vegetables that are home grown look different, not perfect like they do in the store,” says Kirk. “[But] people say it tastes better.”
At the end of their visit, guests can check out the store, another addition to the farm, and take home mementos and local agriculture products like soup, candles, honey, and wood working.
“Most of our products are local or Canadian. And I would say 90 per cent are within a two-hour radius, so that’s very important to us,” says Kirk. “Our alpaca products—some are local and some are fair trade from Peru. We have socks, yarn, alpaca stuffies, and scarves.”
Before travelling out to the farm, you will need to book your visit in advance, as it makes for an all-around better experience. The fee to reserve a visiting time is $8 per family and the admission is by donation.
“What we want here is for people to experience peace [and] calmness,” says Kirk. “We don’t want the alpacas to be too stressed either if there’s too many people.”
Kirk believes the best thing to come out of her alpaca farm, is the opportunity to meet new people and share her passion.
“I love being around people,” says Kirk. “I love sharing our farm with others. It’s been incredible meeting so many new people.”
To learn more about Kirk's Alpaca Farm, watch our interview with Josee Kirk here.
This has been a Home Grown segment, brought to you by connectFirst Credit Union, showcasing Alberta producers, artisans, and farming communities.