Lisa Oostema lives with her husband Glen on a tranquil 117-acre farm in Lynden, Washington. Most of their 35+ years of marriage has been spent living and working a farm together, and I jumped at the chance to visit their land and sit down with Lisa to hear her story.
The first thing I noticed upon arrival was the stillness and vastness of the area. Oostema Farmstead feels about as far away from the city as one can get while still being under a two-hour drive from either Vancouver, Canada or Seattle, Washington. The day I visited, crisp autumn air made the large barn feel cozy, as a line of Wagyu cows stuck out their noses for treats and petting. The sweet smell of hay and gentle clucking of chickens provided the perfect ambience as Lisa introduced me to the goat, treated the pig to an apple, and told me the names and stories behind the cows.
The Oostema’s began their farming partnership working the family dairy farm for 12 years before selling and moving to their current property. They worked in town for 10 years, but the country has a way of pulling people back to it. Now they make their living raising grass fed Wagyu beef and hosting guests at their farm stay.
When I asked her how she got started with the farm stay, Lisa said it never crossed her mind until a friend suggested to the empty nesters that they could run an Airbnb. Lisa’s response at the time was, “What’s Airbnb?” Before long, they had furnished a Farmhouse Apartment, then Glen built a Tiny Farmhouse, followed by a Barn Cabin just last year. They soon found out that visitors were looking for places to park their RV or tent camp in a quiet and spacious environment, and they now have nine RV sites with power, water, and sewer hook up as well as off grid field camping areas.
Most of their guests are urbanites, hailing from high rises in big cities, who have never been on a farm. “Last year,” Lisa told me, “I had someone who picked an onion, and he said, ‘I’ve never seen how an onion was grown before!’” Introducing people to where their food comes from and providing space for folks to relax and soak in a quiet sunset is gratifying for Lisa and Glen. Since working remotely has become more popular, she sometimes hosts digital nomads who use Starlink to work from their RVs surrounded by raspberry fields, lowing cattle, and fresh air.
Like all small-scale farms, on Oostema Farmstead the work is never done. Even though this is the quiet time of year for the farm stay portion, Lisa has been busy developing an addition to their venture: a store. Guests can enjoy the complete farm experience when they visit by indulging in homegrown Wagyu steaks, fresh eggs, and local spice blends.
The Oostema Farmstead is a beautiful place to unwind from the constant hustle and bustle of city life. “We are so remote, and people just love that,” said Lisa. “Open air, space, the views.” It’s an invitation to sit back, relax, and enjoy all that nature has to offer.