Where Alpaca Farm & Gardens now grows was once home to the Atfalati (also known as Tualatin) band of the Kalapuya people. They were hunters and gatherers, moving throughout the valley during spring, summer and fall. Winters were spent in permanent villages set up along the Tualatin River, which runs at the edge of the gardens.
Sketch of Kalapuya man drawn by Alfred Agate, a member of the Wilkes Expedition in 1841
While the rich landscape provided an abundance of food, acorns from native oak trees were a staple of their diet. Gathered in early autumn, acorns were laid in the sun to dry, and then cracked and peeled. Kernels were ground into flour and cleansed with water to remove bitter tannins. The flour, stored throughout the year, was prepared as a mush, soup or bread.
The 300-year-old oak tree that once provided sustenance to so many people now gives us inspiration for everything we do at Alpaca Farm & Gardens.