Oxbow Farm: The Virtual Tour

Throughout any Oxbow work day, conversations are often interrupted by someone (usually Farmer Luke) exclaiming about something out the window, in the sky, or high up in the trees — a bald eagle being harassed by crows, trumpeter swans, a baby coyote… seriously, how lucky are we to co-inhabit our workplace with such creatures?  Oxbow is a special place! We are a farm, but one that strives to weave its existence into the ecological web of life on this land. The organic practices we use are not only to keep YOUR food safe and healthy to eat, but to protect the rest of the life calling this place home. Protecting, preserving and improving the health of this property are a HUGE part of our mission.  

Come on, let’s go on a tour of this beautiful piece of land together!

An introduction to Oxbow must start with our namesake, the oxbow lake on the property. This horse-shoe shaped lake was formerly a meander of the river, which was cut off in the river’s continuous efforts to flow down a more direct course.  The oxbow is home to many waterfowl — great blue herons, cormorants and wood ducks are commonly seen in the giant cottonwood-ringed waters. The island in the middle of the lake is full of grand maple trees draped in moss and ferns, an abundance of salmonberries, and delicate little fringecup flowers.

Now let’s head down the road to the farm fields. The 25 acres of veggies (and 6 fallow acres) sit on a peninsula of land that is bordered by the majestic Snoqualmie River. A buffer of land sits between the river and our production fields.  This buffer is where much of our work to restore native vegetation takes place. The diverse array of native shrubs and trees here can survive the occasional submersion of seasonal flooding, and provide food, nectar, shelter, and nesting sites for many creatures.  We’ve seen beavers, coyotes, song birds, raptors, frogs, snakes, native bees, and lots of beneficial insects.  We haven’t actually seen our healthy soil microbes, but we know they are there! This vegetation also provides shade, erosion control, and nutrient inputs for the river, all of which benefit the various runs of salmon that journey up the Snoqualmie past Oxbow each season. This natural swath contains flowering shrubs, such as serviceberry, red osier dogwood, wild rose and ninebark, which attract insects that benefit our farm crops through pollination and predation on farm pests. Deeply rooted plants serve as a physical barrier, slowing and filtering any run-off of sediment from the farm from entering the river, and also protecting the farm from large debris carried by flood waters. It is truly beautiful to see how all of these systems work together!

Thanks for joining us on this virtual tour.  If you’d like to see all that we’ve described, and more, visit the farm over Mother’s Day weekend for our Native & Edible Plant Sale!  Entrance to the farm property is free, and we’ll have a foraging walk with the incomparable Heidi Bohan, hayrides through the springtime production fields, activities for the kids and lots of great ideas for your home landscapes and veggie gardens.  See you there!