Sunday, November 15, 2009

Benefits to Community

The honest truth is that I have not actually worked for the farm in some time. I pulled out of the Ferry Plaza scene in spring when Kara joined the crew and left the farm stand sales position back in the middle of summer, making room for the cheery and organized presence of Kim. The personal story behind this is that I take on other types of environmental projects that distract me from a regular schedule and hence lose my weekly positions as a result. It is no good for reliability which is pretty nice to have in farm help.

As a result, I have traveled a bit this season and farm and market tours are always on the back-burner, or forefront, of my priorities. I have visited regions including San Luis Obispo, Idaho Falls, Boise, Eastern Sierra/Mono Lake Region, the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs, the Palo Verde Valley and Colorado River/Salton Sea areas...making several trips through the north-south highway corridors that pass through our Great Central Valley of production, the coastal 101 corridors of lettuces and strawberries galore.

What is this relevance in relation to Tierra Vegetables, your local and your-round farm resource? My perspective to each of these new regions seems to always relate back to Tierra as a benchmark. I always find myself sharing with other farmers and growers what is being done back home at this wonderful farm I work with, relating their success as potential avenues other growers might take to diversify or troubleshoot challenges. My heart remains with Lee, Wayne and Evie as I respect and share their work at any opportunity.

Tierra has worked so hard year after year to create a system that includes diversity in products and markets. All year you are able to visit your local farm for you food, you can always go and see it in all stages of production, you can talk with your farmers, you can bring your kids and take a walk and learn and talk about whatever there is to learn (always something). The semi-urban location of the farm is a huge benefit. It offers convenience to the community and opportunity to interact with most all aspects of the farm, even as a consumer.

Many CSA farms must be contacted for an opportunity to visit. It is not so easy to simply stop in and watch as the season moves on, carrots get bigger and strawberries go through their ups and downs with the eather. A box of vegetables dropped on a local porch is a great way to get food (especially compared with a grocery store selection) and a service Tierra does offer, but there is no comparison for the experience of coming to the farm, choosing what size or shape or color veggies you want to take home that week, and experiencing what the local food system has to offer.

I could rattle on and on over these topics, but the underlying theme of this post is simply that after all my travels this season and making comparisons with environments, marketing systems, production and products, it is my opinion that you customers of Tierra Vegetables have a really good thing. And I just can't help myself from sharing that because I have a forum to do so.

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