One of the Gahanna, Ohio area’s hidden attraction gems is Swisher Creek Alpaca Farm. Owned and operated by Pete and Judy Klein, Swisher Creek Farm is home to a beautiful herd of big-eyed Alpacas (including a few “characters”) and a great gift shop that features both handmade items and a full line of alpaca products made in Peru. The Kleins offer free, educational tours of the farm by appointment –a delightful and enchanting experience for visitors of ALL ages! Visit Gahanna interviewed Judy to learn more about how the farm started …
Q: When & how was Swisher Creek Farm established?
A: Late in 2001 I started investigating the “alpaca life style.” Many of the articles about alpacas centered around how to raise these animals that could steal your heart. Many of the farmers appeared to be close to our age which further heightened our interest. It became apparent that raising these animals did not require the same strength, stamina or time that other livestock might. Both my husband and I love animals and were drawn to the idea that these wonderfully soft animals did not need to be killed to provide a wonderful return on investment. These animals are a “green” machine – they have modest eating habits and their soft padded toes protect the pasture.
Q: What inspired you to start an Alpaca Farm?
A: My husband was getting close to retirement and I was definitely beginning to plan for my own retirement. We were very interested in getting involved in something that we could do together and that we would both enjoy. Pete has taken on the major role of caring for the animals with my assistance. I have taken on the task of marketing alpaca fiber.
Q: How many alpacas do you have?
A: We currently have 19 alpacas – 15 females and 4 males. At one point, several years ago, our farm was home to 40 of these animals in every natural color imaginable. Alpacas come in 22 natural colors and our pastures were home to at least one of almost every color.
Q: Name one thing about alpacas that few people know.
A: Alpacas are members of the camelid family which contains camels, alpacas, llamas and vicunas. The current day alpaca evolved from a small prehistoric camel that lived in North America.
Q: Is the farm open to the public?
A: The farm is open by chance or by by appointment.
Q: Can visitors touch an alpaca?
A: Alpacas are very shy animals and most of them will avoid human contact. Luckily we have one male alpaca who “loves” to be petted by visitors.
Q: What makes the Gahanna area a good place for your business?
A: There is a vibrant mix of people in Gahanna. Gahanna provides a small community feel but provides the amenities of a much larger city; and Jefferson Township provides country living close to the airport.
SWISHER CREEK FARM
3515 Babbitt Road
Blacklick, OH 43004
Planning a visit to Swisher Creek Farm? Make a day of it in Gahanna! Check out http://www.VisitGahanna.com or call the Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau (614/418-9114) for fun itinerary ideas, tips on great restaurant options, Herbal Trail adventures and other family friendly attractions.