West Branch alpaca farmer first in the state to sell meat to restaurants

Published: Jul. 11, 2017 at 6:17 PM CDT
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A restaurant in Kalona has plans to start serving an unusual dish for eastern Iowa and it doesn't have to go far to get the meat.

The Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth is going to be adding Alpaca meat to its menu and the restaurant is getting its meat from a farm in West Branch. Alpacas are known for their soft fleece used in clothing. Tracey Frerichs said the animal's meat is high quality.

"Help people understand that this is a very nutritious meat. It's 98 percent lean. It has the highest protein content of any meat on the market," Tracey Frerichs, the owner of Frerichs Alpaca Farm said.

Now Frerichs is partnering with Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth in Kalona and the restaurant owners are excited.

"We're always excited to try something new and different. It's a lot of fun. I think it brings a lot of interest from people that come into our restaurant. It's not for everyone but I think there's a certain segment that will like it and I think it will be a very successful item" Warren Miller, co-owner of Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth in Kalona said.

They've tried alpaca meat and they love it.

"Once you cook it on the rare side, it's delicious. It tastes like beef to me but it has a bit more of a sweeter taste to it," Miller said.

Frerichs said it's very fun to raise alpacas but it does come with its challenges.

"It is a learning experience almost every day," Frerichs said. "We're trying to expand our markets and go to various shows and promote alpaca and promote our goods and the things we're trying to sell."

Frerichs said his alpaca farm is the first in Iowa to sell the meat.

"I never even thought I'd be doing this to be quite honest with you. It's fun. It's interesting and it's quite a challenge sometimes" Frerichs said.

Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth said the meat will be on the menu sometime in the next few weeks.