Around 25 miles southwest of Ithaca, as the crow flies, beautiful vegetables grow in the fields of Oxbow Farm. This small family farm, which is owned and operated by Noelia and her husband and co-farmer Tim, is nestled in a quiet valley in Erin, Chemung County. Noelia and Tim have been sharing the fruits –and veggies– of their labor with Ithaca Farmers Market shoppers since 2010, making this their 6th season as vendors. Oxbow Farm has been a staple of the Thursday evening market (which is now at Hancock Street) since they joined the Market, in addition to selling from their booth at Steamboat Landing on Saturdays and Sundays.
Noelia reports that their Swiss chard enjoys quite a bit of local fame as their most frequently-photographed product, with hundreds of shoppers taking pictures of it at the weekend markets. It is difficult to resist snapping one colorful shot…
Nutrition experts say to “eat all the colors of the rainbow,” so after you get your photograph of the display, try taking a piece of it home to decorate your omelette or dinner plate!
Noelia grew up in in Massachusetts, and Tim in Colorado, but they met when they were interns together on a farm in New York State (adorable, but true). They knew that the Ithaca area would be an ideal community in which to live and farm, so in 2007 they bought some land with an old farmhouse in Erin, and Oxbow Farm was born! As the farm has grown, so have their two daughters, who are now 7 and almost-4. They often help out their mom at market on Sundays.
The latest project on the farm is the addition of several hoophouses, which extend the growing season. In our climate, especially in a valley where the cold fog settles, and hills to the East and West make the sunrise a little later and the sunset a little earlier, hoophouses are a real asset for farmers. Oxbow Farm recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, which allowed them to build a brand new 30′ x 72′ mobile hoophouse, and they also have 5 smaller hoophouses. This allows them to start planting as early as February, so they have fresh mustard greens ready for sale at the first market of the season, in the beginning of April. Later on in the season, heat-loving crops like cucumbers benefit from the hoophouses all summer long!
To connect with the nice folks at Oxbow Farm, you can visit their Facebook page or, better yet, stop by and say “hi!” (and pick up some beautiful produce) on Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday. You’ll recognize their colorful signage and Noelia’s friendly face!