When Stuart and Emma signed the papers for their farm most of their friends and family thought they were mad; a farm was the last place you would find Emma as she had studied Theatre and Performance at University rather than Agriculture.
The couple were living in Plymouth and the Council decided to put an incinerator opposite their house; so, after campaigning against it for 2 years, they sold the house.
Amongst other ideas, they researched keeping alpacas and in August 2011 they bought Adrian and Sajla Armstrong’s Thistledown Alpaca herd. They then had a herd of 16 Alpacas and nowhere to live with them; eventually finding 0.5 acres with a small barn and a park home on it.
The diversifications grew and in 2014 they imported Valais black nose sheep from Switzerland, a very special breed. In October 2015 they achieved planning permission to build their house and launched their hot food business, winning numerous food awards and knitwear brand Moor Baby; which is luxury knitwear brand designed for babies.
In 2018 they started an Alpaca trekking experiences in conjunction with Ninestones
farmhouse, trekking through Bodmin moor.
As a result of the, often misguided, boom in keeping alpacas a few years ago many people bought alpacas looking for an easy way of making money. When people found this was not the case this sometimes resulted in alpacas being kept poorly and mistreated. Emma takes in unwanted alpacas and rehabilitates them as their normally friendly characters are often changed by these experiences. Those that cannot be rehabilitated successfully will be used in their meat by post business, Moor Meat.
We will be taking a look at a situation where young people have entered into the farming industry from a non-farming background and created successful enterprises. Emma will take us on a farm walk and we will hear about each aspect of their growing business; diversification with a difference.