Visit with alpacas on Whidbey Island

Aug 26, 2019, 2:31 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm
(Two alpacas enjoy lunch at Pronkin’ Pastures Alpaca Ranch. Rachel Belle, KIRO Radio)
(Two alpacas enjoy lunch at Pronkin’ Pastures Alpaca Ranch. Rachel Belle, KIRO Radio)

Fact of the day: Washington state has the second highest alpaca population in the country.

According to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, there are 19,217 registered in our state. Context: most states hover around the four-digit mark.

So why are we so keen on these curious camelids? No one I spoke with can answer that question. But who cares! They’re adorable! And you can get up close and personal with a herd at Pronkin’ Pastures Alpaca Ranch in Greenbank on Whidbey Island.

Whidbey Island’s Blue Fox Drive-In Theater still going strong after 60 years

“They’re very gentle,” Pronkin’ Pastures owner LeeAnna Jorgenson said. “They are just calm, sweet animals. They’re very lovable, curious and interested but they’re also very cautious.”

Pronkin Pastures is the only alpaca ranch on the island still welcoming visitors. Jorgenson bought the land with her husband 14 years ago, hoping to raise some sort of livestock for food.

“A couple steers, maybe a pig or two,” Jorgenson said. “But my husband was really opposed to that idea. He didn’t want anything that was going to end up in the freezer. So, upon further investigation, we learned about alpacas. Alpacas are raised primarily for their fine fiber. The more we researched and learned about them, the more we liked them.”

After many classes and lots of learning from other alpaca ranchers, they now keep no more than 40 alpacas on their 10 acres of land. Jorgenson says alpacas haven’t been in the United States long, people only started importing them from Peru in the 1980s. She has a regular breeding program, welcoming two to six babies every year, since young alpacas provide the highest quality fleece.

Jorgenson opens up the farm to visitors every four to six weeks, free of charge. Or you can make an appointment, pay $5 a person, and have the opportunity to go inside the pen and hand feed them.

“Oddly enough we’ve done three different bachelorette parties,” Jorgenson said. “People come to the farm, they want to spend time visiting with the alpacas. Kind of a fun, different way to celebrate.”

Admittedly, I was a guest at one of those bachelorette parties and have since returned to spend time with these gentle, fluffy headed creatures.

“People always reach for the top of the head and that’s exactly what the alpacas hate,” Jorgenson said. “They’re not like dogs, so as tempting as it is to touch that cute little topknot, they really don’t like that. If people want to touch them, go for the shoulders or the side of their neck. Most of the time you’ll be able to touch them that way.”

For more information on a visit, click here.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Owner Sophia Walker believes in fitness AND doughnuts. (Photo courtesy of Sophia Walker)...
Rachel Belle

Seattle’s No Judgement Fitness is a safe space for the LGBTQ community to workout

No Judgement Fitness is mirror free and focuses on body positivity, not weight loss. 
4 days ago
(Brooke Lark/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

New LinkedIn data shows more women are promoted to manager in Seattle than any other city

Women in Seattle are 80% more likely than the national average to advance to manager. 
6 days ago
Marsha and Matt Owen opened Skein & Tipple, in Clinton, last Tuesday. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

Skein and Tipple: Whidbey Island’s newest craft cocktail bar is also a yarn store

Yarn up front, cocktails in back! When the liquor control board told the owners they must have live entertainment, they cooked up Tuesday Knit Night. 
11 days ago
Irene Crawford (left) looks at Beatles memorabilia in her little sister Barbara Horn’s scrapbook....
Rachel Belle

Seattle sisters saw the Beatles in 1964, return to the same venue tonight to see Paul McCartney

Barbara Horn and Irene Crawford reminisce about seeing Beatles at Seattle Center in 1964.
14 days ago
(Photo by Ingrid Barrentine, courtesy of Alaska Airlines)...
Rachel Belle

Alaska Airlines is the first US carrier to introduce gender neutral uniforms

Alaska Airlines' new policy gives also all employees permission to wear makeup, earrings, fingernail polish, and gender-neutral uniforms.
20 days ago
(Palle Knudsen / Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

Fewer pills, more parks: More doctors are prescribing nature to patients

Non-profit programs in the US and Canada encourage doctors to sign on and prescribe their patients time spent outside or, for some, more time at a sunny window. 
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Visit with alpacas on Whidbey Island