A note on closures, wildfire smoke, and Oxtober date change

On September 10, the Bolt Creek Fire began, setting in motion an unprecedented few weeks of high smoke exposure for the team at Oxbow. With the fire centered along the HWY2 corridor near Skykomish, that corridor and the Snoqualmie Valley faced constantly shifting and often dangerous levels of smoke exposure. Following Washington state guidelines for protecting outdoor staff and visitors alike, Oxbow adopted a series of recommendations that ensured the safety of anyone on the farm.
Such measures included using respirators, taking breaks when possible, and—when levels reached an unhealthy level—closing the site.

Over this period, some of you have reached out to us with concerns about changing hours and site closures. Certainly, we apologize for any confusion our site closures have caused. We know these closures have particularly inconvenienced our Farm Stand customers and CSA shareholders. Please understand that we are navigating this unprecedented situation alongside you, and we pledge to do our best to provide you with timely information regarding Oxbow’s operations.

We have learned a great deal about the regulations and variability of wildfires and how they impact our operations. While we are following the state of Washington’s regulations for safeguarding lives from the dangerous exposure to wildfire smoke, we continue to explore how other farms and non-profits are adapting to a climate that appears to be changing even more rapidly than we feared only a short while ago.
We would welcome input from our CSA Shareholders and Oxbow Members to help us continue to adapt to ensure that we offer the best possible service to you. Please reach out to us with your thoughts and ideas. We can all learn together.

You matter to us, and we are sorry for the inconvenience.

We apologize to those who have driven to our farm and found it closed. Unfortunately, the conditions are difficult to predict and often fluctuate. Once the decision to close the site is made, we move to communicate this news via our social media channels (Facebook & Instagram) and our website. Please check our social media for the most up-to-date information. Our Farm Stand Team will act quickly to post updates to social media when the decision to close the site is made on the weekends.
Please note while we strive to send emails and update our website in real-time, the reality of closing down operations simultaneously presents a major logistical challenge for the team. As a result, we are piloting a new phone system to improve our ability to update phone messages and respond to customer calls. We hope to have this system available for you in 2023.

 To our CSA Shareholders: We will be extending the season to allow you to spend your shares. You will receive more information in your weekly shareholder email.  

We kindly ask for your ideas as we implement better solutions and communication protocols that will provide you with stellar customer service while protecting you and our staff.  We are all in this together!

Oxtober Fall Festival changes

Putting together an event such as Oxtober is one of the most fun and challenging tasks our Events Team faces. The current wildfire situation has made this year particularly challenging, as we dedicated considerable time to building a wonderful site experience. Looking at the current wildfire situation and with our staff and community’s health in mind, we are sliding the dates one week later under the optimistic assumption that the smoke conditions will begin to change over the coming days (as predicted by meteorologists and smoke forecasters).

Consequently, we will start Oxtober on Oct 22 & 23 (instead of October 15 and 16) and extend it one week to the Halloween weekend–Oct 29 & 30. Click here for more information & registration>>

Oxtober promises to be an unforgettable family time this season. Some of you have seen Oxtober grow from a small pumpkin patch to a big family festival people in the area look forward to each year. We hope to see you here, ready to have fun and get your boots dirty.

We are so grateful for each of your families, who continue showing up and supporting us through floods, fires, a global pandemic, and so much more. If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or concernsplease get in touch with us social media or emailing us at thedirt@oxbow.org. You are part of this community, and we love hearing from you.

As the newly arrived Executive Director, I very much look forward to getting to know all of you.  I truly welcome your insights and wisdom, as we continue to deepen and strengthen the mission of Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center.

Thank you and Happy Oxtober!

Jim Barnhart.