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Two Novice Alpaca Farmers Create an Oasis for Community in Minnesota

by Sarah Ratermann Beahan

A group of alpaca and sheep outdoors with snow on the ground.
Photo Credit: Evergreen Oasis Farm
They started out owning seven alpacas. While the learning curve was steep, bonding with the animals came naturally.

Raising livestock and growing a flower farm didn’t feature in Brooke Spindler and Tim Lom’s life plans, but they chose to take a chance and throw the doors wide open for others.

Brooke Spindler and Tim Lom, owners of Evergreen Oasis Farm, radiate warmth and openness. Within moments of talking with them, it’s clear they are a team. They tease one another but are quick to tout one another’s strengths.

A person of light skin tone with a beard, wearing a stocking cap with their sweatshirt hood pulled over it, poses next to a sheep.
Photo Credit: Tim Lom
Tim Lom of Evergreen Oasis Farm loves the animals, no matter what the weather

How did a couple from the suburbs who’d never farmed end up raising alpacas on their very own 20-acre farm in Center City, Minnesota? Spindler and Lom ask themselves the same question weekly. Yet they’ve been operating Evergreen Oasis Farm where they raise alpacas, sheep, chickens, cultivate cut flowers and steward the land for nearly six years. 

This entrepreneurial couple have been building businesses together since the early days of their relationship. Since they met in 2017, they’ve been orchestrating ways to spend as much time together as possible. First, they launched Love Bird Designs, a mobile DIY arts and crafts event space and boutique, which grew into a full-fledged retail shop called The Summit House in Center City, a 45-minute drive north of Minneapolis.

One afternoon while chatting with customer Deb Rhodes, Spindler mentioned that they would love to move out of the Twin Cities and closer to the shop. Rhodes had an outlandish suggestion: she and her husband wanted to retire; Spindler and Lom should buy their alpaca farm.

“I’d never seen an alpaca before,” Spindler confessed. And yet, she was intrigued. The couple toured the farm that week. 

“And as soon as we saw [the farm], we desperately wanted it but it felt like it shouldn’t be possible,” Lom says. Between the move that would uproot their family, the financial complications and utter lack of experience, the whole idea felt far-fetched. Despite the odds, a few months later, they, along with their son Ethan, moved to Center City and became the proud (and slightly terrified) owners of an alpaca farm.

Two adults and a young adult hold hands and walk on green grass. The sun is setting behind them.
Photo Credit: Jen Jenson Photography
Tim, Brooke and son Ethan enjoy a quiet stroll on the farm.

They started out owning seven alpacas. While the learning curve was steep, bonding with the animals came naturally. And Spindler and Lom are determined and resourceful. They enrolled in beginning farming classes, they started thinking about moving their shop from its storefront location to the second story of the barn and dreaming about all the potential projects they could develop. Spindler wanted to plant a you-pick flower field; Lom wanted to try raising other livestock, like goats. 

The mentor they were paired with through the farm beginnings course warned them against taking on too many projects. She advised them to part with livestock and focus on their barn market, the element of their business with which they were most familiar. But they politely declined to take her advice.

“We try a lot of things and when they don’t work, we pivot,” Lom says. “The goats didn’t work out, but the flower field did.” And while they’ve laughingly admitted that they’ve failed a lot, each failure has taught them how to move forward. 

“We have no idea what we’re doing most of the time,” he laughs. “Our whole lives together have been a series of Hail Mary passes that have landed. We keep pinching ourselves and waiting to wake up.”

After a challenging weekend clearing brush from around a majestic oak tree on their property, they had a defining moment. He recalls looking up just before sunset and being overcome by the sheer beauty of the sun setting over the pastoral landscape behind the massive old oak. 

“Brooke was in the house. I called her and said, ‘you’ve got to get down here’.” he says. They sat in the grass together, sipping a beer, soaking up the beauty of the land.

“We turned to each other and said, we have to share this place with the world. Other people should have this experience too,” Spindler added.

Their whole ethos is just that: to keep creating this beautiful life and sharing it with others. 

“Every minute we are away from the farm feels like we’re stealing from ourselves,” Lom says. They are doing their best to stay as close to Evergreen Oasis Farm as possible and to throw the doors wide open for others.

Evergreen Oasis Farm offers subscriptions to their flower field, hosts events on the farm with meet-and-greet sessions with the animals, a Barn Market and Etsy shop. And starting this spring, they will sell seedlings and hanging baskets.