The climate is very temperate in the Puget Sound area. Rainy and warmish. At least, warmish in comparison to more northern States. But, there are some Alpaca Farms in our area!
Our main residence, for now, is in Kent in the Puget Sound area. Our property is just 1/4 acre...and the main part of it is dedicated to our 2 hounds and our Saint Bernard.
However, someday soon...we will be selling our city residence and moving to Northeastern Washington. The altitude isnt' K-2 by any means...but it's a far sight higher than sea level. It is 4300 ft. So, that means real winters. C-c-c-cold.
Doesn't it help the undercoat to develop better when you have a real winter?
Linda Cortright mentioned (in her magazine editorial) that the reason she moved to her current US residence (a much colder clime) is so that she could raise cashmere goats.
And I thought the reason merino sheep do so well in Australia is the climate.
Anyway, you're right about the price of Alpacas. I visited an Alpaca farm a few years ago...
and he pays $20,000 for an alpaca. I don't know if he sells them.
My girlfriend, on the other hand, pays just a few hundred for her alpacas, with the exception of one. She doesn't tell her friends how much she paid for cutie! It's got the cutest little face and it's silvery light gray! A real prize. I've felt the yarn produced from the other alpacas (brown and white mix)...it isn't soft at all. Nice yarn...but not soft. I think the silvery gray alpaca fiber will be different.
You will love the Wild Fibers magazine. It is also a great resource for folks who raise fiber animals themselves! That's how I learned about Unicorn Fiber Wash and Rinse, and Fiber Scour!
They advertise in Wild Fibers every issue. I haven't used anything else for my sweaters since!
It is far superior to anything I've ever tried before that!