The Minam River Lodge greenhouse

The Minam River Lodge garden provides our chefs with a progression of greens, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, inspiring seasonally focused dishes made with each day’s harvest.

Nicole Freshley

Nestled into the valley floor of the Minam River, our greenhouse and small garden plot offer a unique opportunity to grow food in one of the most beautiful places imaginable. To hear an eagle chattering in the tamaracks while sowing seeds in the early morning, or glimpse a black bear ambling toward the river at dusk, deepens our sense of responsibility to the land surrounding us.

As the Minam River Lodge lead gardener, my guiding mission is to grow an abundance of vibrant food in a way that honors our wilderness location. We follow organic principals and incorporate practices from permaculture, intensive gardening, and the ecology of our surrounding forest in our pursuit of self-sufficiency. Composting, crop rotation, cover cropping, mulching, no-till, and vermicomposting are some of the methods we employ to improve soil and crop vitality. An homage to homesteaders of years gone by, our garden is a reminder that the most sustainable way to provide an isolated kitchen with fresh produce is to grow it onsite. A thriving garden is pure magic and each spring my goal is to create a beautiful focal point that honors a sense of place and maintains coherence with our wilderness landscape.

As the Minam River Lodge lead gardener, my guiding mission is to grow an abundance of vibrant food in a way that honors our wilderness location.

My passion for sustainably grown food has its roots in a childhood spent largely outdoors, roaming the woods and mudflats of southwest Washington’s Willapa Bay. Early on my parents instilled in me a guiding reverence for wild places and an appreciation for foraged and home grown foods. While earning my B.S. in Environmental Science at Huxley College I was exposed to the evolving national conversation about how agricultural practices impact human and environmental health. I began working on a small organic produce farm in Washington’s fertile Nooksack River valley and fell in love with the beautiful, exhausting, grounding rhythm of farming. This passion for sustainable agriculture has led me to farms and orchards from Italy to Ecuador, but I always return to the Pacific Northwest.

I was drawn to the romance and challenges of gardening along the remote Minam River. An elevation above 3,600 feet and a microclimate created in the narrow valley challenge us with a short growing season and the possibility of frost any morning of the year. Growing food here is a collective effort which benefits from the varied experiential wisdom of our entire team; especially that of my partner, Minam Lodge landscaper and fellow gardener Tosh Todorov. We can’t wait to share our beautiful produce with you. Come meet us in the garden!

Nicole Freshley
Minam River Lodge Gardener

Top photograph by Leon Werdinger