Grown Here at Home: Perfectly ‘knit’ story of Pacaberry Farm in Catawba

One of the alpacas at Pacaberry Farm in Catawba.
One of the alpacas at Pacaberry Farm in Catawba.(WDBJ7)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 7:39 AM EDT
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CATAWBA, Va. (WDBJ) - How Pacaberry Farm in Catawba came to be is a story woven together in a literal sense.

When Stephanie and Donald Schneider met in college, one thing they had in common was they both knew how to knit. Stephanie had always wanted her own yarn shop. So they dove right on in, and bought two alpacas. At the time they were living in Long Island, New York. Eventually they both got teaching jobs in Roanoke.

“And then we were just able to build our dream from there that we always wanted to have,” Stephanie said.

The name Pacaberry pretty much came out of a joke.

“I made a joke and said, ‘Hey, if we were able to make our own berry, we would name it a pacaberry. That would be a good name for the farm.’ I said it kind of on a whim and Steph said, ‘That does sound good.’ And I said, ‘Pacaberry?’ And it just sort of stuck.

Donald said when they started this whole thing, “We didn’t know what we were doing at all.”

There were some learning curves, but they’ve made it work.

“They each have their own temperament and personality they bring to the table; and the more you work with them each day, we know what their quirks are and the things they like,” Stephanie explained.

Donald really enjoys the dying process.

“You can dye with a Jacquard Dye, [which is] an acid dye. We used azaleas last year, which was really cool.” He also says you can dye with avocado peels and pits, as well as different roots.

Believe it or not, wool isn’t just for the wintertime.

“Wool has a natural wicking property. When you sweat in your socks, if you wear cotton, you just sit in this gross pool of moisture, but with wool it absorbs it away from your body and naturally regulates the temperature. So I wear my wool socks year-round,” Stephanie explained.

As cool as it is for them to care for the animals and make lots of different products, they love that they get to share this experience with their kids.

“I don’t think a lot of people can say, ‘I grew up on an alpaca farm.’ They love to get up with us and take care of the farm. They like to put the feed in the buckets. They like being involved,” Stepanie said.

“It’s a complete experience that we’re fortunate to live,” Donald said.

You can check out Pacaberry Farm on their website or Facebook page.

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