Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

More beets?

Beets, baby red

As a member of a traditional Farmer’s Choice CSA model like ours, you invest in a share of what is produced. Your farm, your food, after all! Each and every year, some crops produce in abundance while others fall flat. This year is no different and, honestly, we are just as surprised as you are that we are struggling to keep beets out of your CSA shares! It’s hard to remember the last time we produced such consistently beautiful beets.  The … read more…

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Save now, eat later: Carrots

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As the calendar turns to August, we enter into the frenzied end of summer when it seems, all-of-a-sudden, as though everything we grow is reaching harvest-readiness all at once. In the next six weeks, our entire farm crew will sustain a daily sprint through the harvest, processing, and packing of dozens of different varieties of vegetables. We encourage you to take advantage of this peak part of our season by stocking up on the bounty. This week, we share tips for … read more…

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Our cucumbers and zucchini, out in the world

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Back in June, we shared our plans for feeding King County thousands of pounds of cucumbers and zucchini through our partnerships with great local businesses.  We are now in harvest time for these long-anticipated projects, and we are so proud to share the same food that we feed our CSA community with even more people. This year we have trellised 7 of our 10 beds of slicing cucumbers, and we are just starting to see the results of this new … read more…

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Our feral orchard

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The apple, pear, plum, and even peach trees in our small orchard have really grown up over the years. We have about 30 trees producing fruit now, certainly a sizable amount, but not enough to fully carry a 700-member CSA, week-in and week-out. We have aspirations to be better orchardists. Hopefully we will get there soon. This past winter, the trees got their first real pruning in years, and we have seen stronger yields and healthier trees this season as … read more…

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Come on, green beans!

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Green bean is a generic term for immature bean pods that are harvested before the bean fattens up to become a viable seed, when the pod is still tender enough to eat. They are universally loved, and we would grow acres of them each season if we didn’t have to hand-pick every single one of them! Last year, we switched the green bean variety that we grow. Several colleagues had highly recommended the Crockett variety because they put out a … read more…

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Meet Pat

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Pat has been a flexible, steady, and creative force at Oxbow since March of 2014.  He is a man of many talents – equally as comfortable leading groups of all sizes and ages as he is behind the scenes, shining the spotlight on the work we do here. He first joined us as OxEd’s first program assistant. In that role, he helped us grow OxEd programming, delivering programs to close to 3,500 children that year compared to 2,000 in the … read more…

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A note on this season’s broccoli

Broccoli

There are so many variables involved in growing broccoli that no matter how long we farm, we still never know what we are going to get. Over the years, we have adjusted timing, spacing, varieties, and nutrients. One year, we had enough beautiful broccoli to stock the shelves at PCC Redmond steadily for months! Most years, we pour our hearts and souls into our broccoli and our CSA members enjoy it in a few boxes. We are fortunate to have … read more…

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Meet the crew: Pete Manrodt

Pete

Pete Manrodt is a dedicated field crew member that we are lucky to have back for a second season. Our shift over the last few years from employing a small but steady field crew supplemented by an intern program to investing more money in experienced labor has yielded us a strong team in 2016. Pete is a true farm professional. Any time in the season that an experienced farmer shows up, resume and cover letter in hand, we breathe a … read more…

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In carrots we trust

Carrots

We are often asked, “What’s your best crop?”, a seemingly simple question, but one that could yield any number of answers depending on your definition of the “best.” To us, best crop could mean most profitable, least resource-intensive, highest yielding, most delicious, lowest impact on the environment, etc. When presented with this question from a group of high school students this week, we responded with the question, “What crop do you think we consider our best?” The kids had obviously done … read more…

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As the CSA picks up, summer camp is also in full swing

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As our farm crew packs and delivers the first boxes of our CSA season, Oxbow staff are equally busy elsewhere helping our second crew of summer campers have a blast learning about where their food comes from. Farmer Amanda’s gang spent some time on Thursday morning getting into the minds of some of Oxbow’s wild critters, roaming the farm as ducks, frogs, and snakes. The older kids in our Apprentice Farmers camp spend every day exploring the food growing on … read more…

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Onions, at long last

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In the six weeks since our last onion update, they have grown to the baby stage and are ready for bunching! The baby Walla Walla onions on tap for Week 2 were not part of our original field plan, but we had thousands of extra starts that we didn’t want to go to waste! So we made some creative space for them. Sometimes additional plantings don’t pan out (we’re looking at you, failed spring arugula!), but in this case we … read more…

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Lettuce: A pretty solid plan B

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Our dedication to being a CSA farm is at the heart of our production plan each season.  As we discussed recently, we forecast where each bunch and pound of every last crop will be sold.  We are committed equally to getting all the nutrient-dense food that we grow into the community as well as running an economically viable business. So what happens when we don’t meet this forecast? Since January, we have been growing enough food in excited anticipation of feeding … read more…

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Garlic the great

Garlic

Growing great garlic is no easy feat, but we are proud to say, this year, we have done it! There is garlic coming in your Week 2 box (and Week 1 boxes for Wednesday/Thursday/Friday pick-up members), so you will get to see the hefty. fresh heads for yourself soon. They are turning out wonderfully, the fruits (as a matter of speaking) of a LOT of planning and regular care dating back to November! Garlic is pretty tough to grow well … read more…

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Meet the crew: Adam McCurdy

Farmer Adam on the tractor

With over 15 years of farming experience under his belt, Adam is our fearless Farm Manager leading the charge towards the success of our dual-eco mission – ecological responsibility and economic viability.  As we are increasingly challenged by the demand to feed an ever-growing population, it is infinitely more important that farms use land responsibly and that farmers can run a viable business. Adam’s role has evolved from farmer to Farm Manager over his last ten years growing food at … read more…

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Saving the bounty

Carrots

Carrots, lettuce, and bunch greens are the staple crops that make up the foundation of our growing plan each season.  Representing four plant families – carrots as apiaceae, lettuce as asters, kale and collards as brassicas, and chard as chenopods – we grow these universal favorites in a manageable volume so that we are not overwhelmed by the challenges they each bring to the table, from pests to disease. Our goal is to include these items in your share each … read more…

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Reflections on the solstice

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The recent summer solstice (and once-in-a-generation Strawberry Moon) gave us an opportunity to appreciate the present, reflecting on all that has happened and looking forward to all that is yet to come. In farming, the past and the future are apparent in each moment. Every day, we see both the payoffs of our wise choices and the drawbacks of our missed opportunities and we do the best we can to anticipate the needs that will arise in the coming days, weeks, … read more…

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Meet the crew: Kevin

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With his brand-spanking-new Bachelor of Arts in Engineering & Bachelor of Science in Geology degree from Lafayette College, Kevin Jackson is proving to be a great fit for our Processing Crew.  He is quickly learning the ins and outs of the packing shed, from systems to quality control, and does a great job helping us all have just a little more fun during these long days. We met Kevin via Skype back in May, where he was living in Easton, … read more…

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Meet the crew: Travis

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We are thanking our lucky stars that Travis Dunlap is at the helm, delivering all of our OxBoxes across King County this season. Travis has both delivery and grocery experience, which means he knows our industry as well as how to navigate the mean streets of downtown Seattle!  In the month that he has been on the job at Oxbow, Travis has displayed excellent judgment, professionalism and a relentlessly positive attitude. Travis and his wife have two daughters, eight and … read more…

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How we predict your box contents

How to farm

“Must be June!” is a refrain heard daily around the farm right now, but nowhere more often than out in the production fields.  June is when the harvest begins in earnest and crops really begin maturing, some seemingly overnight. The art and science of timing a first harvest is one of a farmer’s most important skills to hone.  No seed packet will tell you exactly how many days until a crop is ready; no book can tell you what the … read more…

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Meet the crew: Tino and Yolanda

Tino & Yoyo

If you have been an Oxbow CSA member for any length of time, you have likely already been introduced to the powerhouse husband and wife team of Tino and Yolanda Hernandez.  Originally from a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tino and Yolanda are model hard workers and the anchors of our field crew. As longtime Oxbow veterans and year-round employees, Tino and Yolanda are broadly skilled and knowledgeable. They are capable with every task from prop house seeding to field … read more…

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The cukes and zukes

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An entire acre of your cucumbers and summer squash are growing happily in all this heat.  We sowed them only three weeks ago!  Both of these cucurbit crops are staples that we grow for our CSA members, but there are always more to go around. When we plan our production each season, we forecast where each bunch and pound of every last crop will be sold, based on talks with our restaurant and grocery customers and feedback from our CSA … read more…

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