In our vision of a perfect world every neighborhood would be like Diane Schwalbach's in Menlo Park. Diane recently joined Tara Firma Farms and shortly thereafter we saw a surge of members signing up from right in her neighborhood. So we called her to see what was going on.
"I have told several of my neighbors," she immediately confided. "We live in a very affluent area and everyone is pretty aware of healthy eating. Plus, a lot of the organizations here spread the message as well. For example, at the large tech company my husband works they spend a lot of money doing things like serving pasture-raised meats in their company cafeteria--and they aren't alone. So it’s a very present topic."
Prior to joining the farm her family already bought grass-fed meat and organic produce from Whole Foods. But her parents who became members of Tara Firma six months earlier took Diane and the family of three young children on a farm tour one weekend and Diane was impressed enough to sign up. While she notes she had been aware of CSAs before the tour, the ones in her area were mostly fruits and vegetables and they had pick up locations--something she had no time for with three young kids. When she learned she could actually get home delivery of customized orders of meat that she knew was healthy and tasted good she was sold.
Diane says getting food from the farm fit right in with their lifestyle favoring the local farm to table movement. "We have a garden and my kids now understand picking food. I want them to be involved in the process of making good food choices. When we went to the farm the kids started to make the connection between farm animals and food. My five year-old now says 'this meat comes from a cow' when we have steak, which I think is great. The farm provides the kind of knowledge and values we want to instill. My kIds are 5, 3 and 1. While they don’t yet understand they’ll be eating the animals they see I think it’s important that they see how healthy animals are raised.”
Diane goes on to say that she’s the kind of person who likes to share good things with her neighbors and appreciates that they do the same. “Our neighborhood is very family-oriented with lots of kids and friendly interaction between neighbors. I tell them being a member of the farm has worked great for our family. Of course there’s a balance between wanting to do what’s best for your family and being able to afford to but we made that decision to go with the farm and we think it's fabulous.”