Silas Wendt, 5, plays among the goats at his family’s farm, Karluk Acres, on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion) 

Silas Wendt, 5, plays among the goats at his family’s farm, Karluk Acres, on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion) 

Getting your goat: Karluk Acres farm finds niche

  • By KAT SORENSEN
  • Monday, July 17, 2017 7:20pm
  • News

The goats at Karluk Acres are starting to wean and will be heading to destinations across Alaska starting this week.

The farm, which has been producing livestock for eight years, is run on 4.8 acres of land off Kalifornsky Beach Road where Julie Wendt and Paul Vass of Karluk Acres have created a permaculture farm system centered on their livestock and poultry business of selling goats, chickens and eggs.

Fertilizer taken from the livestock raised on their property helps grow the produce in their greenhouse to fuel their bodies to work the farm. Each aspect of the farm fills a specific niche, allowing the farm to be self-sustaining.

Karluk Acres is home to a wide variety of livestock and poultry, including chickens, a pig and ducks, but a pasture of goats is the main attraction. The pair raise different breeds of goats including Nubians, Saanen and Nigerian dwarf goats that are bred and raised on the property before being sold for milking, meat or companionship.

“Everyone wants babies ready to go in the spring,” Wendt said. “So you have to have them in the cold, so one of our biggest challenges is trying to get the animals to have babies when it’s 20 below.”

Throughout the colder months, the goats and other livestock are housed indoors and kept warm throughout breeding and in their early days.

“We try to keep them warm with plenty of bedding or heat lamps,” Wendt said. “But you can’t really use heat lamps with goats because they try to knock them down constantly.”

Once the cold weather breaks, the goats are brought outside to one of the three pastures on Karluk Acres property.

“We rotate pastures during the summer time,” Wendt said. “We let them graze one pasture down and then move on to the next one.”

The goats, paired with the ducks waddling around Karluk Acres, keep Wendt and Vass from having to use lawnmowers.

After the goats grow enough to be weaned from their mother, they can be picked up by the buyers.

“Some people we find that we deal with over and over again, especially with goats,” Wendt said. “But we see new people every year that find us by word of mouth or Facebook.”

This year, they saw a dozen baby goats.

“And we’re going to keep two females from this year,” Wendt said. “The rest are all sold.”

Pacing nearby the goats’ pasture is a gaggle of chickens poking around outside of a large chicken coop on the grounds.

“We sell a lot of eggs,” Wendt said. “Just under 300 a year.”

Many of the farm’s egg sales also come from word of mouth — one customer telling their friend or posting on social media.

Past the chicken coops is a large greenhouse.

“Right now, the produce is for ourselves,” Vass said. “But next spring, when we have a little more experience with the high tunnel, we’ll start doing a CSA weekly pickup.”

The pair started the high tunnel two years ago, which joins two green houses and a garden on the property and they are currently growing a variety of produce, including peppers, potatos and cucumbers.

Throughout the farm, chickens and ducks can be seen feeding or being chased by a loud black pig.

“We have just this one pig this year,” Vass said. “We used to raise weiner pigs, had 10 sows and two boars but this year we’re raising one for the freezers. We’re getting a second one tomorrow, though, because they do better in pairs… It’s in the nature of hogs. If there are two hogs and one is full, but notices the other one eating it won’t be able to stand it, so it will get up and start eating. That’s why we call them pigs.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

Getting your goat: Karluk Acres farm finds niche

More in News

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Fisheries approves Kenai River king salmon action plan

The plan adds bait restrictions for in-river fisheries, doubles the sport bag limit for sockeye salmon, and adds a swath of restrictions to the commercial setnet fishery

The Kenai Municipal Airport is seen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
New Grant Aviation planes to double service’s flight capacity

The first of two Cessna 208B EX Grand Caravans will start transporting passengers on Monday

Stickers are available for voters at the Kenai No. 1 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to hold ‘I Voted’ sticker design contest

City council members approved the program during their Wednesday night meeting

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bill seeking to bump use of Alaska Performance Scholarship clears the House with unanimous support

The money is awarded to high-performing high school graduates to help pay for postsecondary education at participating institutions in Alaska

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Most Read