CBD company Miraflora sells many products that consumers are familiar with, from beverages and bath bombs to edibles for humans and their pets. But what sets the hemp manufacturer apart isn’t always what it’s selling.
Miraflora’s farm in Boulder is home to a band of adorable alpacas with names such as Irish Whiskey, Jackson Hole and Burrito that have earned a sizable following on TikTok. And it’s no surprise why.
The Alpacas Hemping account, which boasts more than 7,300 followers, offers social media users a behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives of these fluffy creatures. And when they’re not swindling passersby for attention, crushing that Fitbit game or checking out cute boys, they’re doing their part helping Miraflora maintain its status as USDA certified organic farm.
“Alpacas are great for fertilizer,” said Brent Facchinello, Miraflora’s co-owner, chief operating officer and self-proclaimed alpaca whisperer. When his cousin acquired the 160-acre farm in 2019, they considered adding various livestock, but settled on alpacas for their ability to create nutrient-rich compost that’s high in nitrogen.
“It’s all about making sure we have the best top soil, and the best top soil makes some of the best crops,” Facchinello said.
It’s tempting to imagine Irish Whiskey and the crew galavanting through rows of lush hemp plants sprinkling what Facchinello calls “alpaca gold” as they go. Sometimes they’ll get walked on leashes through the hemp fields, but Miraflora’s alpacas spend most of their time in a 10-acre pen where they get to roam and graze freely against the backdrop of the Flatirons. They eat about 1.5% of their body weight — or about two pounds for a 125-pound animal — in hay daily, Facchinello said.
“Alpacas are kind of like cats; they only go to the bathroom in one spot,” he said. “It makes it very easy to collect (manure) and get it back into the soil through those means.”
Facchinello and other farm workers use the manure to create an organic compost that’s then distributed where needed on the hemp plants. The process adds to the overall ethos of the sustainable farm Miraflora is trying to create. The farm also employs drip irrigation to regulate water use and is currently installing solar panels to generate electricity.
When the alpacas aren’t hard at work, they’re running laps around the farm, rolling around in the dirt or taking well-deserved naps. Though Miraflora is not open to the visiting public, the farm is located on Ouray Drive, a popular byway for athletes and other locals taking a walk or run near Haystack Mountain. Sometimes passersby can catch a glimpse of the alpacas from the trail, or the animals might meet them at the fence for a little face time.
“I know a lot of people tend to think of alpaca as a livestock animal, but we tend to see them as pets,” said Facchinello, crediting the alpaca herd with helping increase CBD sales. “In any business you have faces of the business … the alpacas are becoming the face of Miraflora.”