Cross Roads farm to hold festival
By Tatiana Ambrosio
Russell and Annemiek Foster, residents of Cross Roads, own Tx-Ture Farm, a farm filled with a mix of lavender fields, gourd patches, Christmas trees and alpacas.
Tucked away in a corner of the property there are about 25,000 bees living in their bee apiary.
Though Russell had lived there for nine years, a journey for an ag exemption and the purchase of a few plants to sustain their hobby of beekeeping would take them both out of the corporate world and into the world of owning a small farm.
On Sunday, March 21, they are inviting the surrounding community to their farm for what will be their grand opening event, the first Shearing Fest.
Alpacas grow coats much like sheep. However, the term for it is not wool; it’s called fiber. Alpacas are native to South America and do best in colder climates. Here in North Texas, they often require air-conditioned barns when the temperatures climb into the 80s and 90s.
They also need to be sheared as temperatures rise in early spring.
A shearer from New Zealand who spends part of his time here in the U.S. and part time in Auckland will be shearing the alpacas. He travels from farm to farm, shearing the animals.
For the last six months, he has been shearing alpacas in New Zealand.
In the next few weeks, he will start in Colorado and make his way through the southern United States, shearing animals at different farms.
The event at Tx-Ture Farm is scheduled on a Sunday because of his tight schedule at the many farms. While at the Shearing Fest, he will not only be shearing Tx-Ture’s animals, but he will also be shearing animals from Live Joy Alpacas in Aubrey, plus the three alpacas that reside at 29 Acres.
They will be shearing 25 animals in total. The shearing will start at 9 a.m.
There will be food, over 30 vendors, alpaca yoga, workshops, artists and live music.
“So, we’ve got Peruvian animals being sheared by a New Zealander,” Russell said. “We’re serving French crepes, and we have an Irish folk band. It doesn’t get more multicultural than that.”
Vendors that will be at the shearing fest cover everything from leather works to macrame to gourd painting. There will even be a booth selling alpaca droppings. These droppings make a compost tea fertilizer for plants.
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the gate.
What brought the alpacas to the Fosters was a quest in trying to apply Texas’s ag-exemption program for their land.
“So we got a pet, the alpacas,” Russell said.
The Fosters are also hobby beekeepers. While on a trip to Austin, they had planned to get a hundred lavender plants for their bees.
They came back with three thousand lavender. When the wholesaler said, “Well, you’re one of the largest [lavender farms] in north Texas,” they had an epiphany, Russell said.
“That moment was the moment we realized, wait a minute—this could be a business—and that was the direction of the property at that point,” he said.
On a motorcycle ride, they had the idea to add Christmas trees.
That was a year and half ago.
When asked if lavender does well in our climate, they both laughed and said, “Nope, and neither do alpacas or Christmas trees!”
“The gourds are the easy bit,” said Annemeik.
Over the course of their first year, they said they lost about 2,800 of their first 3,000 lavender plants. Lavender loves a dry arid climate, but that year happened to bring the rainiest May and June that Russell could recall.
In the years since, they have had to add sand and rock to raise the beds. They now have around 8,000 lavender plants.
That was the first part of their journey. So much of their journey since has been shaped by chance meetings and conversations with people that brought interesting business opportunities to them.
They had planned on retail sales with soaps, lotions and other products made from their lavender, alpaca fiber and
Since then, they started getting calls from homeschool parents asking if they would run some programs to teach kids about things on their farm.
“That’s when the light bulb started to go off for us. [We thought], OK, this fell into our laps so this is something we should probably look at,” Russell said.
As they started looking into it, they started to see a direction for their property as an educational property. During farm tours, they share information about the bees as well as the alpacas and lavender.
Another request came from a neighboring community when a mom wanted to give something out of the ordinary to her child for Christmas.
The Walk-A-Paca experience was born. Visitors can spend an hour and a half among the alpaca. They get to feed them, learn about them and tour them around the farm as they also get to learn about other things on the farm.
Plans for the future at the TX-Ture Farm will include experiential Christmas Tree cutting. They already have yoga scheduled among the alpacas and lavender on the property. They have plans for holding classes for felting alpaca fiber into items much like a sip and paint studio. They have also already started work on an amphitheater where people can sit among the lavender while listening to live music.