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Lights! Camera! Action!

Alpaca Farm Featured in Cooperative Living Makes Reality TV Debut

February 2023

Photos by Laura Emery

by Laura Emery, Deputy Editor

Stephen and Nicole Phillips, owners of Meadowgate Alpacas, had a little secret.

The day the couple was visited by Cooperative Living staff in late June, they indicated that “exciting” things were in the works … things they were not allowed to share yet.

The secret is out now. Meadowgate Alpacas was featured in two episodes of the new Nat Geo Wild show, Going Fur Gold. This show highlights animals and their owners as they prepare to participate in animal competitions.

The couple and their farm were featured in Cooperative Living’s August 2022 issue. Readers enjoyed reading about the 10-acre family-run farm located in beautiful Beaverdam, Va.

The Phillipses entered the alpaca business five years ago.

“Part of what our farm does involves agritourism, as well as an animal therapy program. We have been taking animals to assisted-living facilities, and we’ve worked with special needs groups. We also do breeding and showing,” Nicole says.

One thing is for sure, they’re in love with what they do. Stephen can identify all 30 alpacas from his office window. He can also tell you what kind of mood they’re in.

“We keep fewer than 30 alpacas here, which allows us to concentrate on the health and social disposition of each animal,” Stephen explains. “In addition to being soft to the touch, they’re soft to the heart, as well.”

The farm’s super soft and fluffy inhabitants are also loved by visitors. There’s Cinnamon, who adores being scratched. Apollo can throw cups in the air with his mouth. Pippa is playful. But Phoenix, a 7-year-old male, is most well-known on the farm due to his patience and photogenic nature.

“Our farm also does some showing. It’s a smaller portion of what we do, but equally valuable. And something we really love doing,” Nicole told Cooperative Living that day in June.

On the show, Going Fur Gold, the family discusses day-to-day operations at the farm. Then, cameras follow the family as they show three alpacas – Hottie, Orion and Rory – at an animal show. The episode featuring the Phillips family is titled “Alpaca Pride.”

On the Meadowgate Alpacas Facebook page, the excitement was evident on Jan. 30, as the family, along with some friends, gathered to watch the premiere episode of Going Fur Gold. “It’s going to be exciting,” Nicole said to the camera, as cheers were heard in the background.

And exciting, it was.

“This has been an unusual and unexpected journey for our family,” Nicole says, referencing the rare opportunity to be part of a television show. “When we were first approached to do this show, we had lots of reservations and several family discussions. Once we decided to join the cast, our goals were humble. We wanted to make our family proud and we wanted to be a positive, welcoming voice for the alpaca industry. We hope everyone tunes in and watches!”

The series has aired on the Nat Geo Wild channel, or you can watch with a subscription through fuboTV or DIRECTV Stream. It is also available for purchase on Apple TV, and small clips can be found on YouTube here.