Discover a Unique Way to Boost Your Business: Welcome to Harvest Hosts!
Discover a Unique Way to Boost Your Business: Welcome to Harvest Hosts!

Are you searching for innovative ways to enhance your business while crafting memorable experiences for others? Look no further than Harvest Hosts! This groundbreaking RV camping membership opens doors for self-contained RVers to embark on unforgettable journeys and stay overnight at your farm!

Embraced by members of the Alpaca Owners Association (AOA), Harvest Hosts has become a beacon of opportunity for alpaca farms across the nation. Among these enthusiastic Hosts are Arella Farm, LLC in Lamar, Mississippi, and Sawdust Alpacas, LLC in Fallon, Nevada, who have been Hosts since 2021.

For these farms, being a part of the Harvest Hosts program has been a revelation. It's more than just offering a place to park; it's about cultivating connections, sharing the beauty of their land, and curating one-of-a-kind experiences for guests.

Why Alpacas?

Sawdust Alpacas: My husband says, "I saw them, I liked them, and so I got them." That is literally what happened too! He saw alpacas advertised for an alpaca show in Reno, which he attended, got lots of information, and said that is what he wanted to do when he retired from 35 years as a journeyman carpenter. We now have 42 alpacas on the property!

Arella Farm: My husband and I attended a Christian Marriage Conference in Little Rock, Arizona eight years ago. During our free time there, we visited Heifer Village, while we ironically did not see cows there, we DID encounter our first alpacas there! It was love at first sight. We sold our house in the city, purchased farmland near our grandchildren's home, and the rest is history.

How did you decide to become a Harvest Hosts location, and what attracted you to the program?

Sawdust Alpacas: Glenn was introduced to Harvest Hosts during an alpaca farm tourism training seminar that he was attending. It was a way to bring visitors to the farm and make some extra money to help offset some of our expenses. He signed up that day and was approved immediately! We had our first guest in October of 2021! We own five acres, so there is a lot of room for RVs, and we installed electrical outlets in each space. If a guest uses the power, we charge $10.00 per night in addition to what they spend in the store.

Arella Farm: After attending my first AOA conference and learning that other people want to see and learn about alpacas, we decided agritourism may be a good option for us. We began by offering birthday parties and field trips, and it was during a field trip that I was approached by a parent who asked me if we were a member of Harvest Hosts. I had not heard of them but was certainly willing to explore all possible revenue opportunities. Upon speaking with a representative, I learned that we met the requirements to become a Host. They explained how their members preferred experiences and peaceful settings over a parking lot for overnight stays and that it was requested that they spend a set suggested amount with each Host. We signed up during that call and have been happily Hosting since March of 2021.

What is your favorite part about being a Harvest Hosts Location?

Sawdust Alpacas: We enjoy meeting visitors from all over the world. We have had visitors from Denmark, England, Newfoundland, Israel, as well as every state in the US. I don't think that with the 400+ visitors we have had in the last two and a half years, we have missed any of the 50 states. Glenn loves to tell people about alpacas and fiber and I worked in a mill, so we can explain the processing of fiber and go into the store where they can experience the products made from our fiber.

Arella Farm: My favorite part of hosting is definitely the people. We have guests from all walks of life and love hearing their stories.

How has hosting RVers helped your business?

Sawdust Alpacas: From October 21 through December 22, we had over 300 guests. Some of them spent more than the Harvest Hosts' minimum suggested amount. We were able to buy enough alpaca feed for a year! We were also able to buy a small store building for products and move them out of our living room, which is much better for the visitors and us.

Arella Farm: Hosting has given us valuable exposure to the farm. Not only do members tell others about our farm, but they often post pictures and tag us on social media. While some spend the minimum suggested amount, the vast majority go above and beyond.

What are some of your favorite stories with Harvest Hosts members?

Sawdust Alpacas: We have so many that it's hard to pick one or two – One of our first visitors was a family with a little boy about six years old. He wanted to help Glenn with the water for the alpacas, so he held the hose through the fence into the water bucket in one of the boys' pens. Dad and Mom are not too far behind. Thunder, our main herdsire who loves people, reached over the fence and nibbled on the little guy's hair. He was shocked at first and then started laughing. He thought it was pretty cool that Thunder gave him "kisses".

We had another Harvest Hosts couple that were here for the night. One of our moms decided to have her cria at 7 P.M. on a Friday (Very late for alpaca crias to be born). And in our little town, no emergency vets were available. The female cria had, what we later found out, was Dummy Foal Syndrome, meaning she had to have special procedures to survive. This couple sat in the barn for three days, bottle feeding, rubbing her neck to make her swallow, etc. until the vet could get here to do the treatment. The cria is fine, now three years old, and is now living on another ranch.

Finally, we had a young couple here who spent two years building a tiny house on wheels. They were traveling around the United States in their truck with the tiny house behind them. We also have had a scientist from the Challenger Space Shuttle, a race car driver with all the race car spare parts, and video equipment for his son to record the race in Nashville, TN, and a couple from England who flew to the East Coast, rented a van, and drove to the West Coast.

Arella Farm: I remember a wonderful young, nomadic lady who sat around a campfire with us playing her guitar, and then joined us at the local cafe for a meal. We've hosted retired couples going to see loved ones, and others going to see the world. Can you believe one such couple went from RVing in Mississippi to yachting in Greece? We've met a family with a young daughter who had received a heart transplant on their way to meet another transplant recipient who supported and encouraged her through the process. Recently, we met a family from Israel who came to America for a visit but sadly wasn't able to return home following the conflict that erupted. We watched as they encouraged their small children to speak English to us. We listened as they spoke of the family left in Israel. They were surprised by the number of churches in America and the fact that we could worship as we pleased without fear of prosecution. I cried silently as I saw the large American flag they proudly displayed on their RV that evening before they retired.

What advice would you give other alpaca farms considering joining the Harvest Hosts program?

Sawdust Alpacas: I don't think you would regret becoming a Harvest Hosts location. But some ideas to follow if you do become a Harvest Hosts location are:

  1. Ensure your Harvest Hosts page is updated regularly with new information if needed.
  2. Immediately respond to questions, emails, texts, or phone calls from your expected guest.
  3. Be flexible, if possible, to changes in arrival time – road conditions, accidents, etc. will wreak havoc with their plans and they don't need you to add to that. If you can't be there, for whatever reason, when they arrive, make sure that they know how to get to the parking spot that is available for them.
  4. We always greet the guests upon arrival and show them the parking areas. If they are the first ones here, they can choose whatever spot they'd like.
  5. Offer power (if available), many people have solar so they don't need it, but some might. (Offering power is not required)
  6. As soon as they are settled, offer to do your tour or whatever it is that you need/want them to see.
  7. Make sure you have plenty of products of varying prices from low to high for your visitors to spend more than the minimum amount suggested by Harvest Hosts. Our visitors usually spend at least twice the suggested amount.
  8. Most importantly, make sure you make your guests feel like they are welcome, that you appreciate them, and that they are supporting your business.

Arella Farm: For farms considering Harvest Hosts, ensure that you have the required insurance coverage. We started out thinking we would not get any guests because we are in a pretty remote location. Our first guest arrived the week we signed up. Do you think your farm is too small? Think again. We only had eight alpacas at that time. Guests don't care if they see four or 40 alpacas. They just want to see them. Be ready to share and receive!

If you're ready to elevate your business and embark on a journey of connection and discovery, Harvest Hosts awaits. Join Arella Farm, Sawdust Alpacas, and countless other Hosts who are redefining the art of hospitality, one unforgettable stay at a time. If you are thinking of becoming a Host, complete your application, design a Host profile, and start welcoming RVers, you don't have to pay a dime! All you need is your farm and a suitable place for an RV to reside!

Learn more about Harvest Hosts by visiting their website!

A message from Sawdust Farms to Harvest Hosts. "We would like to say a special thanks to Harvest Hosts for sponsoring our male alpaca – Sawdust's JCs Nambar. We appreciate your support of our part of your program. Meet Harvest Host's HaRVey."

Tags Arella FarmSawdust AlpacasBoost Your BusinessHarvest Hosts