Cabin View Alpacas welcomes visitors to farm

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The Houseworths have been running Cabin View Alpacas just outside the village of Trumansburg for nearly a decade now, and thanks to phase two, the much-loved farm can continue to provide animals that have brought smiles to so many faces.

Cabin View Alpacas, located on Congress Street Extension, opened for the season on schedule on Saturday, June 6. The small farm houses dozens of alpacas both to purchase and to simply pet, along with a gift shop full of products made from alpaca fur.

The farm is the passion project of Chris Houseworth, who described its origins as inspiration from a coworker. Prior to owning the farm, Houseworth co-owned Electronic Manufacturing in Ithaca, and Houseworth and one of her employees had a very pivotal conversation by the water cooler.

“She was talking about someone that went to her church that raised alpacas,” Houseworth said. “I knew what alpacas were, but I was kind of intrigued, and so, I looked them up and came home that night and said to my husband, ‘Let’s raise alpacas.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ But then, we did some real homework. We did some research, we visited farms, and we were smitten. They’re such a wonderful animal.”

Chris and her husband, David Houseworth, started off with just a couple of alpacas, but in the 10-plus years since then, that number has grown to 47. While they turned the business into a seed stock farm, Cabin View hasn’t veered far from its origins.

“The land that we’re on was settled by my father’s ancestors as a revolutionary land grant, and at the time, they raised sheep and grapes,” Chris said. “We’re not raising sheep, but we are raising a ‘wool’ animal. And we’re right on the wine trail, so you had to kind of go full circle from back when this was settled as a revolutionary land grant.”

While many in the Trumansburg area have struggled because of COVID-19, Cabin View’s seasonal schedule helped the business evade the worst of the pandemic.

“We have found over the years that between January and the end of May, we don’t have a lot of traffic,” Chris said. “We were always open by appointment or by chance, but not a lot of traffic going up and down and pulling in the shop to see the alpacas. So, a few years ago, we actually started closing from January to the end of May. So, the only way COVID affected us is we didn’t take appointments and let people come.”

Thanks to phase two allowing retail businesses to open at least on a limited basis, Cabin View Alpacas opened according to schedule, but Chris is still expecting COVID-19 to impact the business.

“I don’t think we’re going to be that busy to start with,” she said. “I just don’t think people are ready to really get out that much.”

Chris said that thanks to the nature of Cabin View, it will be fairly easy to comply with health and safety guidelines as the state continues to reopen.

“As far as social distancing, we’re a small shop, so people will probably just come in their own little family groups and then wait for people to leave,” she said. “And then, we’re going to have masks and of course, we have hand sanitizer and just anything that we need to do to keep people safe.”

Despite the changes, Chris is optimistic about the future and hopes that the farm’s alpacas will continue to brighten the eyes of many visitors to come.

“The alpacas, they’re mesmerizing,” Chris said. “You can’t help but smile when you see them, and it lifts your spirits.”

Cabin View Alpacas is open Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with farm tours available by appointment. Call 607-279-3567 or 607-280-3698 to schedule a tour. All patrons will be required to wear a mask or facial covering.

Farmers Market gets internet access

The Ontario and Trumansburg Telephone Company (OTTC) has partnered with the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market to provide free, high-speed fiber optic wireless internet in the village park, according to a recent press release.

The new wireless access will assist farmers and other vendors in providing local and healthy food access, while also giving customers and the community more ways to stay connected.

“Providing free internet to the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market was a no-brainer for us,” said OTTC President and CEO Paul H. Griswold. “This is just a small way that we can give back to the community that we have served for over 100 years. A reliable internet connection is critical to help the vendors assist in reviving the local economy in Trumansburg.”

Market Manager Natalie Baris shared that sentiment, adding that she’s heard a lot of positive feedback from vendors.

“It makes it much easier now because a lot of people pay with credit cards, and vendors having to use data to run a card or whatever it may be is not ideal,” Baris said. “So, now we have Wi-Fi for the vendors that can run credit cards, and it goes faster, and same thing for the EBT and SNAP benefits we offer at the market.”

OTTC plans to leave the wireless access on throughout the market season and will determine later if it is necessary to install winter weatherization equipment. There will be two different channels - a secure login for vendors and staff and an open network.

“The village of Trumansburg greatly appreciates OTTC providing free, high-speed internet for the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market, which has grown to become a dynamic weekly draw for village residents and visitors alike,” said Trumansburg Mayor Rordan Hart. “Broadband access is a significant barrier to productivity in many parts of rural New York, but we are fortunate here in Trumansburg to not only have ample access, but have options, and I applaud OTTC for investing in their community in this way.”

The Farmers’ Market launched its 2020 season last month, rolling out new health and safety protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Baris said things are starting to return to normal at the market, and as more restrictions are lifted, having Wi-Fi will help attract more people to the market.

“If we have Wi-Fi, we can record things and post them live to social media and spread the word, and maybe it might bring more customers in,” she said.

The Trumansburg Farmers’ Market runs every Wednesday from May to October, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Village Park on Route 96.

In brief:

Survey for Village of Trumansburg Comprehensive Plan Update

All Trumansburg residents are invited to participate in a survey to inform its Comprehensive Plan update. The Village of Trumansburg Comprehensive Plan Committee, working with the planning consultant EDR, has put together a survey where residents can share ideas. The results will be summarized, analyzed and reported in the updated Village Comprehensive Plan.

Postcards notifying residents of this survey have been mailed to village residents. The survey is available online at https://tinyurl.com/TburgSurvey. A paper copy is available on the Village Office porch (56 E. Main St.). The survey will be available until June 30, 2020.

You may read more about the Committee and its work at https://trumansburg-ny.gov/zoning-revision-committee.

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