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Alpacas Center of Attention at Weekend Farm Days Event in Lompoc

Ranch of the Oaks will welcome visitors to the 20-acre farm that's home to alpacas, llamas and icelandic sheep

Alpacas check out the camera on Monday at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc near ranch co-owner Mette Goehring. The ranch will be open to visitors during National Alpaca Farm Days on Sept. 26 through 27, and is a free event open to all ages.
Alpacas check out the camera on Monday at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc near ranch co-owner Mette Goehring. The ranch will be open to visitors during National Alpaca Farm Days on Sept. 26 through 27, and is a free event open to all ages. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a Noozhawk slideshow]

Standing about 3 1/2-feet tall, a group of about a dozen curious alpacas ambled over to Tom and Mette Goehring as the couple entered the pen at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc.

Peering through long eyelashes, the docile animals, always on the lookout for hay — or even better, carrots — walk towards the ranch owners, who are excited to allow the public onto the ranch this weekend for a glimpse at the animals.

The couple make their home on their 20-acre Lompoc property, Ranch of the Oaks, 3269 Crucero Rd., and will be hosting an annual event where the public can view the animals and check out the silken wool that the animals are renowned for.

This weekend is National Alpaca Farm Days, a nationwide event that gives alpaca farms to open up their gates in an effort to educate people about the animals.

The event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open and free to the public and all ages are welcome.

Ranch of the Oaks is the largest alpaca farm in Santa Barbara County and is home to 66 alpacas, eight llamas, icelandic sheep and more.

The Goehring's operation is unique in that they also have an operating fiber mill on the property, which they use to process about 2,000 pounds of fiber a year, most of which is shipped to them from clients up and down the West Coast.

They also process fiber from animals that live on their ranch, with many of the skeins of yarn for sale in their gift shop stating the names of the animals from the which the wool was sheared.

Ranch co-owner Mette Goehring greets a llama at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc. Click to view larger
Ranch co-owner Mette Goehring greets a llama at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The couple receive shipments of the material year round, and process wool from alpacas and llamas, as well as mohair and other fibers.

Noozhawk got a tour of the farm and mill on Monday in advance of this weekend’s event, and the mill room is full of pickers, separators, scourers and other machinery that takes the fiber from its newly shorn form and transforms it into yarn that is highly sought after by knitters and fiber artists.

Tom Goehring will be doing tours of the mill this weekend.

The ranch has been participating in the farm days event for the past eight years, and saw over 800 people visit during last year’s festivities.

Mette Goehring said she hopes visitors to the ranch this weekend will come away with an appreciation for the animals and a better idea of how fiber for clothing and textiles is sourced.

Festival goers can also enjoy hand-spinning demonstrations going on throughout the weekend as well as events for people who knit and crochet. 

Yarn and handmade items like hats, scarves and rugs will also be available for sale at the event.

For more information about the event or Ranch of the Oaks, visit their website here or contact the Goehrings at 805.740.9808 or [email protected]

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Alpacas enjoy the shade at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc. Click to view larger
Alpacas enjoy the shade at Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

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