Nestled between Oregon's Coast Range and the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of two meandering creeks, the Buchanan Family Century Farm is accustomed to the influence of water. In fact, during the rainy season almost half of the farm disappears under water. As the rains come, the streams rise, overflowing across the wide floodplain of native wetlands and woodlands.
Over five generations, the Buchanans have left natural processes uninterrupted and preserved wildlife habitat. To date, the farm boasts more than 200 acres of land protected under a Wetland Reserve Program with ponds and habitat for migratory waterfowl, beaver, frogs, turtles, native trout, skunk, coyote, fox, deer, elk, and over 100 species of birds. The Buchanans have expanded riparian borders with native plants and maintained natural hedges along fence lines and field borders.
Commodities grown and raised at the farm in recent years include sheep, hazelnuts, grass seed, wheat, hay pasture, and wine grapes. These crops are farmed with water from natural rainfall, requiring very limited irrigation, which reduces runoff, erosion, and potential impacts to wildlife. The vineyard, with its perennial cover crop and intact riparian buffer, is certified as Salmon-Safe under an ecolabel.
The Buchanan farm also operates Tyee Wine Cellars, a small winery open to the public on weekends. Visitors come for wine tasting, hiking and picnicking, and to enjoy Tyee's concerts, community fundraisers, and special events.
Photo by Merrilee Buchanan