A local alpaca farm hosted one of its largest educational tours recently.
Dozens of kids and parents visited Double S Alpaca LLC east of Princeton.
The group primarily consisted of home-schooled and preschool-aged children organized by the mom’s group based out of Refuge Church in Zimmerman, according to coordinator Jennifer Dahlin.
It was one of the largest educational groups the farm has hosted, according to owners Steve and Sandy Clemons. The farm offers regular tours. Educational groups can tour for free, but individuals can schedule tours of the farm as well for a small fee, according to owner Sandy Clemons.
The farm also invites the public to tour during the National Alpaca Farm Days in September every year, though the event was not held last year due to COVID-19.
Located just south of Highway 95, across from Hi-Way Inn, Sandy and her husband, Steve Clemons, have been in the alpaca business since 2014.
They bought the farm that October and at first only had a small clearing for the pasture, because most of the land was wooded.
“We setup our last fence boundaries in the snow,” Sandy said.
The pair started with about 13 animals, but their herd has grown to 24, though Steve said he usually prefers to keep the herd between 15-20 animals.
Along with tours the Clemons also have their animals compete. Alpacas are usually judged on the quality and the quantity of fiber they produce, their body shape and other criteria, according to Steve.
“I’m striving to be the best farm, highest-quality farm, in Minnesota,” Steve said.
At the farm the Clemons breed and raise the alpacas, shearing them in the spring to collect the animals’ woolly fibers. Alongside alpacas the Clemons also raise egg and meat chickens, ducks and turkeys.
The fiber gets shipped to the New England Fiber Pool, where they can exchange it for other products to sell in the Alpacka Shacka store on the property.
For more information, or to schedule a tour, go to doublesalpaca.com.