'Amazing Race Australia': There's An Appetite For Alpaca According To Chris
During the incense challenge, a throwaway comment by Chris, the alpaca farmer, raised a few eyebrows.
Teams had to bundle two kilos worth of incense and neatly deliver them nearby. Before the challenge, Adrienne asked Chris if he thought he could estimate two kilos by feel alone.
"Do you know exactly, when you're doing alpaca meat, how much two kilograms feels like?" Adrienne asked her husband.
"Did she just say 'meat'?" everyone at home asked themselves.
Following their heartbreaking elimination due to camel-related injury, Chris spoke to 10 daily to clear things up.
"We started the meat business about seven years ago," the farmer said. "We have a herd of roughly 1500 animals, so we have probably 500-600 babies every year. We probably only sell 10 or 20 percent of the boys."
The problem for Chris then became what to do with the rest of his male alpacas. "When they become two and three years old we process them -- they've had a nice life for three years. We get them up to a good weight then we'll put them into all of our meat products."
"We had to do something," Chris went on, explaining that alpacas can live for up to 20 years. "So, all of a sudden we could have a very large number of old male alpacas that aren't producing a good enough fleece for us to cover the cost of shearing.
"It's just the next step in sustainable farming," he added.
Chris says they produce a range of small goods, "from sausages to burgers and all of our prime cuts". Selling at farmer's markets every week, Chris also delivers directly to restaurants.
But is there a growing appetite for alpaca?
"Very much," Chris said, "The difficult part is to get people to stop and try it because they've had no contact with alpacas but they see them as such a cute, cuddly animal."
According to Chris, once people get over their reservations for eating alpaca, they're almost instantly converted.
One farmer told the ABC in 2013 that he was unable to export his alpaca meat because local demand was so high.
"Generally once people try it they then become regular customers because the meat is so nice and good for you," Chris told 10 daily.
Alpaca meat is reportedly very high in iron and protein and incredibly low in fat and cholesterol. Due to the limited amount of meat harvested from each animal, alpaca meat is a byproduct of culling, as Chris explained, but Modern Farmer described the meat as a great alternative to beef and pork.
The Australian Alpaca Association also says the meat is environmentally sustainable, as "most parts of the alpaca can be used". With the second-largest alpaca market in the world, Australia is actually leading in the international market when it comes to the production of alpaca meat.
So, there you go. If you're keen to give it a try maybe we'll make a day of it. You bring the steaks and alpaca picnic basket.
'The Amazing Race Australia' Airs Mondays And Tuesdays From 7.30 pm, Only On 10 And WIN Network.
Featured image: Getty Images / Network 10.