Let’s imagine we’re on Madison Avenue in New York City, high above the madding crowds in a glass box of a skyscraper office for a meeting at a high-powered advertising agency. (Think of the hit AMC cable series “Mad Men.”) The sales pitch? “It offers complete nutrition, is fully organic and 100 per cent parasite-free.
a. Grass-fed beef
b. Organic eggs
Sorry, but none of the above.
Instead, it’s alpaca poop, actually Mary’s Poop, to be precise. It’s brought to you by Mary Forte and the 170 alpacas at her 135-acre Fauquier County farm called Mary’s Alpcas at Cedar Hill Farm near The Plains.
“I’d always heard that alpaca poop was good, like black gold,” she said. Alpaca manure offers a potent feeding fuel for plants and gardens.
“I tried to think how to make it work,” she said. “It just evolved. Think of corn, then the by-products of ethanol, cereal, and grain. And by the time it’s in the grocery store, it’s a long way from an ear of corn. This is similar.”
Forte and her business (and personal) partner, Jay Fetner, have written a white paper about their poop project. They’re monetizing this byproduct “by developing a truly revolutionary soil and plant food for container plants and/or personal vegetable gardens. We first collect manure beans from paddocks where alpacas are organically raised.”
Their creation essentially looks like an oversized tea bag that’s filled with alpaca poop. They compost the manure with a forced-air system, which controls temperatures in order to kill all harmful pathogens and weed seeds. The objective is to promote the development of aerobic microbes.
“We pulverize the finished compost into a fine powder for solubility and suspension in water,” they have written. “Then, we add a proprietary blend of Mycorrhizal fungi and yucca extracts. The manure provides the naturally balanced ideal N-P-K ratios replete with teeming beneficial microorganisms.”
Plants treated with the liquid from the “tea bags” send out a signal which nutrients are needed, Forte said. “The Mycorrhizal fungi responds with their filaments that spread throughout the soil to access, absorb, and transport the nutrients back to the plant.” And, according to her writings, “chemical fertilizers act like short-term steroids but all too soon poison the soil and actually harm the plants.”
The biodegradable “poop paks” are steeped in one gallon of warm water, 20 packs sell for $29.95 on her website. Forte and Fetner refer to it as organic agriculture, green lifestyle and responsible stewardship.
“No more tomatoes that taste like shoes,” Forte said.
Instead, Mary’s Poop provides an easy-to-use, odor-free fertilizer. The plants will have prolific blooms that last longer and are disease resistance. Just imagine Mad Man ad executive Don Draper beaming over his successful ad campaign.
“It’s simple and clean and not complicated,” Forte said.
She has everything in place and is waiting for the final patent for the entire blending and delivery system. A colorful and navigable website is up and pumping. The packaging is clever and intriguing, even if she insisted “I’m not a marketer.”
Don’t tell that to a Madison Avenue advertising guru. This poop is going to fly.
Vicky Moon can be reached at Vickyannmoon@aol.com