Sonoma’s Lavendar BnB Farm Alpacas to Premiere in Christmas Movie ‘Holiday Harmony’ Starring Brooke Shields

The Lavendar BnB farm in Sonoma is home to nearly 20 alpacas, two of which played in a Brooke Shields’ Holiday Moviefilmed in Petaluma over the summer, slated for release next week on HBO.

The quiet farmhouse is also a popular Airbnb and is home to Andrè and Yas Castro, who took the property from dry land to a local destination.

The film “Holiday Harmony” is produced by prolific Petaluma filmmaker Ali Afshar. It features “Blue Lagoon” star shields as a small town mechanic.

Afshar, founder of ESX Entertainment, has made a name for himself on the holiday theme as the producer of other locally shot films such as “A California Christmas” and its sequel “A California Christmas: City Lights.”

The film happens to have an alpaca subplot, where Andrè and Yas Castro come into play.

According to Yas, her cousin, who knew director Shaun Paul Piccinino, recommended their alpacas for the role.

After seeing photos of all the alpacas on the farm, officials chose Pedro and Napoleon, the two snowy, all-white animals, to appear in the film – Pedro as the star and Napoleon as the understudy.

Andrè borrowed his neighbor’s horse trailer and drove the pair to Petaluma for two full days of filming over three weeks.

There was an enclosure on site for the two alpacas to rest during their off-screen moments.

“They were very curious,” Andrè said of the animals. “I would say Napoleon was the one who was a bit more stressed.” (He only managed to escape once.)

Pedro’s big moment on set came with a scene where one of the actors has to swerve to avoid hitting him as he stands in the middle of the road.

“He just got it the first time,” Andrè said. “They were really impressed with that.”

Although acting came naturally to the animal stars, two eight-hour days of filming was enough for their time in the spotlight for now, and for Andrè, who had to be on location with the couple the entire time.

“I think there are people who just go see the movie for Napoleon or Pedro,” Yas said.


There are a total of 19 alpacas on the farm – four adult males, two juvenile males and 13 females.

According to Andrè, Napoleon and Pedro actually have to be separated in different pastures on the farm. As a real understudy, Napoleon can become jealous, to the point of spitting on Pedro. And while the feisty Napoleon has repeatedly attempted to become the alpha male of the pack, a title that belongs to Maverick, one of their smallest alpacas.

“He’s the smallest of the four but he’s the boss,” Andrè said.

“We are really beginner farmers, so alpacas are so easy to keep compared to other animals that need more maintenance,” Yas said. “They were both our therapy animals, as each of us needed therapy, so they helped us.”

Even though the alpacas don’t cause the Castros too many problems, they have had their misadventures.

Napoleon and Pedro broke into the girls’ enclosure one night earlier this year and got them pregnant. The Castros didn’t know until a vet came weeks later and told them that Summertime and Danza were pregnant, and then they remembered the night the boys broke in.

“Unfortunately, it’s just a natural occurrence,” Yas said.

Now they have Mando and Grogo, who are only 3 months old. A few of the other girls are currently intentionally pregnant and the number of alpacas on the farm will soon exceed 20.

“I think we’re actually at our limit because there are already pregnant women, and there are some who have had babies. We just want to make sure they have enough space to move around – that’s our big thing, we’re not going to lock them in little areas. I need them to run and play, and they do,” Yas said.

The farm

The Castros moved to the Bonness Road property in 2018, having briefly moved to Vacaville while waiting for the right land to come on the market.

After meeting in Portugal, where Andre is from, they got married and decided to move back to California just over a year later. Yas is from Rohnert Park and has family in Santa Rosa.

It took the Castros almost two years to fully renovate the farm, which had no animals or agriculture when they arrived. Their brainchild was to create an oasis of tranquility for vacation rental guests.

They started by planting tons of lavender in the front of the property, due to its calming and relaxing qualities, but the rest of the property was far from finished.

“It was a feeling of loneliness, having a big piece of land with nothing,” Yas said.

They started buying cattle, and soon the animals became part of the farm experience. They made a living by helping to fertilize the soil, which was previously just dry dirt and weeds. The couple now have more than a dozen sheep and two goats, all miniature. Chickens roam around the property at will, sporting a myriad of colorful feathers.

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