About Us

Our Story

Saltwater Farm was born out of a dream to combine Merriss’ love of animals and wide-open spaces with Andrew’s desire for a business where he meets new people every day. They both have a passion for bringing friends and family together and they both absolutely love weddings!

Originally, they were thinking of something small... just a few acres outside of Seattle for Merriss’s garden & goats, Andrew’s therapy retreats, and a couple of weddings each year. But, on their 2nd anniversary in 2016 during a bike trip on San Juan Island, they realized that this island had everything they were looking for! They started scouring Redfin and came across this property. It was vacant land except for the shop and the old animal barn, but they knew as soon as they set foot on it that it was perfect. Much larger than they were looking for, but perfect! Not only would they be able to build their dream, they would be able to do it sustainably and could even accomplish their longer-term goal of purchasing and preserving a large piece of land as natural habitat. 

The decision to go for it was a huge leap of faith. Andrew had just read an article in the NY Times about how people that say “yes” to big life decisions are happier, and so, with a lot of help and support from family and friends, they jumped. Over the next two years, they had their second baby, adjusted their careers, sold their house in Seattle, moved to the island full-time, and have not looked back.

What you see on the farm is the product of a lot of hard work, an incredible amount of passion and love, some tears, and many (loving) arguments. It is truly the physical manifestation of their vision and values. They are ever-growing, envisioning, and evolving, and are honored that you have chosen to visit Saltwater Farm. If you’d like to know more about Saltwater Farm or tell them your ideas, Merriss & Andrew are always happy to chat!

Our Team

Photograph by Kestrel Bailey

Photograph by Kestrel Bailey

Andrew — Co-owner — Psychologist, husband, father, pilot, youtube ultimate frisbee star, overcommitter extraordinaire — Andrew is our visionary and our dreamer. Without his crazy ideas and willingness to jump, Saltwater Farm would not have come to be. Thanks Andrew for making this dream come true!

Photograph by Kestrel Bailey

Photograph by Kestrel Bailey

Merriss — Co-owner — A veterinarian by trade, Merriss has a love of animals, an eye for detail, and is responsible for all the finishes and design elements you see at Saltwater Farm. When she’s not running around building things for the venue or working on the farm, she can be found working at the local animal shelter or spending time with the couples’ two young daughters.

Photograph by Taylor Shedd

Photograph by Taylor Shedd

Hillary — Inn & Venue Manager — Hillary is your main contact while planning your wedding here at Saltwater Farm. She is the biggest fan of love stories, organization, and meeting new friends. Hillary is also our social media extraordinaire, and can be found running around the property making sure your weekend is a dream come true.

Vanesa — How can we do justice to Vanesa in a few short words? She is our Au Pair, a part of our family, and anyone with toddlers knows we absolutely, positively could not have done any of this without her! She cares for our children like they are her own, and we could not be more grateful to have her.

Beth — If your room is spotless and the venue is gleaming, that is thanks to Beth! She is our housekeeping manager and one of our hardest-working team members.

Our Vision & Sustainability

We believe strongly in bringing community together, spending time in nature with loved ones, and making Saltwater Farm climate positive & sustainable for future generations. We hold ourselves and those who work with us to the highest standards, and we are very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. As we continue to grow our family business, we are committed to creating a space for friends and loved ones to gather, surrounded by natural beauty, and to do it using the absolute best practices in sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Photograph by La Vie Photography

Photograph by La Vie Photography

  • Solar powered

    • We are completely solar-powered. We have two large solar arrays feeding back to the grid (we are on the list for Tesla batteries!) The larger array on the Barn alone produces more energy than it takes to power our entire property for the whole year!

  • Water conscious

    • Our water comes straight out of and goes back into the island’s bedrock aquifer. This creates a renewable system with almost no water wasted.

  • Locally sourced

    • Island built — We want to make a positive impact on our community! Whenever possible, we source locally for both products and people. All our buildings were proudly built by islanders.

    • Wood products — from our farm tables to our siding, all the wood you see on our property (quite literally) from floor to ceiling came from trees right here on the property. We consulted with forestry experts, took down as few trees as possible for the build, and what we did take down we used to create the spaces and features you see here on the farm.

  • Eco friendly

    • Linens — The Coyuchi towels and linens offered at our Inn are 100% organic, eco-friendly, and fair trade. Also, we think they’re very comfy! Please check them out at https://www.coyuchi.com/

    • Bath products — Our bath products are eco-friendly, fair trade, cruelty-free, and made right here in Washington by Alaffia. As a company, you can’t get much more socially responsible than they are. Please check out their products and principals at https://www.alaffia.com/

    • Compost — we compost on-site! Ask your caterers about setting aside a separate food scraps bin and we’ll happily feed it back to Mother Earth.

    • Recycling — we proudly offer recycling. As long as you get it in the right bin, we’ll take care of the rest.

  • Organic

    • You may notice that we have very little conventional landscaping around the property. We actively try to keep everything as natural as possible. Much to our grounds crew’s chagrin, we allow only organic fertilizers, white vinegar, and good old-fashioned weeding to be used on the farm.

  • Responsible land stewardship

    • Forestry, farming, and wetlands — we’ve consulted with experts in all areas of land stewardship to create a property that works in harmony with it’s natural flora & fauna.