Archive 2008 - 2019


by Matt Varrell

Fulfilling a dream, a local couple embarks on a journey surrounding the charming and unique alpaca.

On September 24th and 25th, during National Alpaca Farm Days, Matthew and Amy Varrell will officially open the doors of Harvard Alpaca Ranch during their Grand Opening event. The Varrells acquired their starter herd of eight alpacas in April of 2016 and have been working through the summer to prepare for opening to the public. The Grand Opening will focus on alpacas and the fiber industry but will also feature a variety of other special events to enhance the experience for all visitors, young and old.

Harvard Alpaca Ranch’s current herd includes four females (Lia, Sumi, Natalie, and Ava) and four males (Jammer, Ivan, Erik, and Charlie). The Varrells chose the alpacas based on factors including quality of fiber and conformance, health and breeding history, and personality. The animals come from two different farms in Maine: Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm in Unity and Spudland Alpaca Farm in Blaine.

The Grand Opening is a celebration of the hard work that has been put in to date. Although the “soft opening” of the farm occurred in July, the Grand Opening is an opportunity to showcase a new asset to the communities of Harvard and others within the Nashoba Valley. The Varrells will offer free farm tours where visitors will learn about what alpacas are, from where they originate, their light footprint on the land, and why their fiber is so highly valued across the world. Beyond an opportunity to touch and interact with the herd, visitors can experience the warmth and softness of alpaca products such as socks, hats, gloves and mittens, and yarn and roving. There will be opportunities for kids and adults to try their hand at fiber arts such as felting with alpaca fiber. Other crafts and fun events will also be offered throughout the weekend.

To enhance the event, Harvard Alpaca Ranch partnered with several other local businesses. Still River Winery and Carlson Orchards of Harvard and Ken & Gina’s Amazing Organic Ice Cream of Stow will be present at the opening, offering samples of their locally produced goods. According to Matthew Varrell: “Small farms and producers of locally grown products need to stick together and help promote each other. We’re thrilled to partner with these local companies and invite them to share our event.”

The Varrells’ vision for Harvard Alpaca Ranch is to establish an agritourism-centered farm focused on educating the public on the value of alpacas and the products made from their fiber. They plan to raise high quality alpacas that will be available for sale, offer stud services, and agisting. As they expand over time, they anticipate welcoming school groups, scouts, and other organizations looking for a unique and educational experience. Animal-assisted therapy using the gentle alpacas is planned as a future opportunity for the ranch. Additionally, the farm has a small Alpaca Shop where alpaca products are for sale. In 2016, sunflowers and pumpkins were also grown on the property for sale. The Ranch plans to diversify over time to enhance the experience of visitors with an interest in alpaca husbandry and local farming.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Matthew Varrell at (617) 529-8262, or

Comments (5)

Our address is 58 Old Mill Road, Harvard, MA. We're about 45 minutes from Holliston, located less than two miles off of Route 2 in "apple country."

Matt Varrell | 2016-09-22 04:25:50

Could you please provide the address. Best of luck to the Varrell's!

Tricia Clark | 2016-09-21 09:32:21

For those of you who also had no idea what "agisting" is: Agistment originally referred specifically to the proceeds of pasturage in the king's forests in England, but now means either: the contract for taking in and feeding horses or other cattle on pasture land, for the consideration of a periodic payment of money; the profit derived from such pasturing. Agistment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nancy Baron | 2016-09-21 07:36:35

What's the address for the farm?

Pete Hill | 2016-09-21 05:23:58

They should check out my niece's alpaca farm in Sudbury Twillingate Alpaca farm

Carl Hedin | 2016-09-21 04:28:49