HOW IT ALL STARTED
Tashia Butterfield, the owner of Butterfield Alpaca Ranch, is a master crocheter and began teaching crochet at a local yarn store in Chicago in 2010 where she was introduced to the world of natural fibers. Up to that point, she had only used acrylic yarn from the big box stores. As she was exposed to natural fibers, Tashia learned about the animals who produced them. Among them was the alpaca, a relative of the llama who grows a luxurious fiber that is warmer than wool and softer than cashmere. In August 2011, she visited her first alpaca farm and became obsessed. Tashia then visited 4 other farms within the next couple of weeks and, by the end of the month, she had purchased her first female alpaca who was due to deliver the following month. Tashia's alpacas - mama Joy and baby boy Milan - were boarded at the farm where she bought them while she taught English in South Korea for 6 months. Upon returning to the USA in the spring of 2012, Tashia moved to Nebraska - where her Butterfield ancestors had settled over 125 years previous - to establish the Butterfield Alpaca Ranch. Now, the herd has grown to over 30 alpacas and llamas.