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Fun, Fiber, Family

Alpacas Are Pride of Carolina Pride Pastures

Alpacas are instinctively gregarious animals. That fact can be backed up firsthand by Alicia and Eric Holbrook, owners of a working alpaca farm in Pomaria. 

"Alpacas are as standoffish as cats, smart as horses about opening gates, and as lazy as cows when it comes to feeding habits. And anytime you have food, they are your best friends," quips Alicia, who says she often reminds her "girls" (the herd) that they have a beautiful pasture in the sunshine to go enjoy. 

"But why would they do that when they have a fan and a tasty hay bale right beside them in the barn?" she adds. 

As the Holbrooks' pride and joy, Carolina Pride Pastures features Huacaya and Suri alpacas, along with chickens, llamas, ducks and rabbits. Under typical circumstances, the farm specializes in farm tours, educational seminars, fleece sales and alpaca fertilizer. However, this year's COVID-19 pandemic lockdown prompted the Holbrooks to determine new ways to keep the farm going when customers and visitors dwindled.

So, Alicia is formalizing a brand-new endeavor through turning her personal tours into online, virtual field trips. In fact, she's got so many creative ideas, she just was awarded an innovator grant from South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE) representatives to take her virtual tours to the next level. She says that means working with a marketing firm to professionally produce such a tour, rather than setting up individual Zoom conferences and walking each request through the farm one-by-one

Additionally, this summer she produced an online, interactive program with a workbook designed to educate children who are kindergarten through third grade ages. 

For those who want to still physically visit, the farm is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alicia says everyone can stay in their vehicle for a tour while listening to her pre-recorded 12-minute, looped tape for guidance. She just asks guests to contact her before visiting during June through August, due to the heat and how the animals may be reacting. She says she and the operation are more available during the rest of the year. 

The farm is located on 4 of their family's 16 acres. They currently have 26 alpacas, which average 125-150 pounds each. "Some push 200 pounds," Alicia confides. 

She says because alpacas are native to Peru and the Andes Mountains, their digestive systems are designed to process everything they eat. That makes their manure highly sought-after by gardeners and those who grow fruit trees or flowers, because one can plant directly into it without it releasing nutrients too quickly and "burning up" plants or crops as a so-called "hot manure."

For those who would like to take an Alpaca 101 class, Alicia is working on that, too, by documenting how she turned what started more as investigating a hobby in 2011 into a business in 2013. The Holbrooks try to find uses for all their fleece, as well. 

Seeking an extraordinary gift? The Carolina Pride Pastures online shop offers alpaca-inspired socks, yarns, bird nesting balls, fertilizer tea bags for boosting plant growth, youth art kits and dryer balls that serve as natural hypoallergenic alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

"We hope more people will follow us on all our social media platforms because that's where we post our one-of-a-kind items that are truly only one piece like it made, or where we let everyone know time-sensitive updates, such as we've got lots of eggs available," says Alicia. 

Looking for a different birthday venue? This agritourism farm can be rented for 2 hours, and includes use of their shelter, tables and chairs; a private, 30-minute farm tour for up to 15 kids; and optional craft projects. Guests are welcome to come with their own food and beverages, and two commercial-grade jumpcastles can be added. 

1416 SC Highway 34, Pomaria


  • Brandi Graham Photography
  • Alicia Holbrook
  • Brandi Graham Photography