May 12, 2023 - Things to Do

Unique places to stay: An onion farm in Ames

Onion Creek Farm owners Joe Lynch and Lonna Nachtigal. Photo: Courtesy of Onion Creek Farm

If you're looking for a unique weekend getaway, stay at an enchanting vegetable farm in Ames dedicated to sustainability.

Flashback: For decades, a piece of land by Onion Creek was grazed by cattle, leaving little vegetation on the forested floodplain.

  • In 1975, Joe Lynch acquired the land and built a house on it, but decided to leave the floodplain alone.

The result: Forty years later, a thicket of wildflowers and trees that looks similar to a "dense tropical forest," is now known as Onion Creek Farm.

  • "That's literally by doing nothing except leaving it alone," Lynch tells Axios.

Zoom in: Lynch's wife, Lonna Nachtigal, loves growing vegetables and started raising crops for the local farmers' market in 1998.

What you'll find: Onion Creek offers a single room with a queen bed or a two-room suite and kitchenette with a shared bathroom.

  • Outside, visitors can look at onion, leek and garlic crops, as well as sheep.

The intrigue: Guests use a compostable toilet inside the home, which is then used for compost on the farm.

  • It's mostly similar to any other toilet, except guests add a handful of pine wood chips after using it and the waste is removed regularly to compost.

Price: $80/night for a single room, $140/night for a two-room suite. Limited availability during the summer.

  • Reserve a room by calling or emailing Joe and Lonna.
Wildflowers at Onion Creek Farm
The outside of the guesthouse at Onion Creek Farm. Photos courtesy of Onion Creek Farm
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