GROWING THE LOCAL FOOD NETWORK
Tahoe Food Hub expands Farm Shop.
Written by Tamsin Edwards
Photo by Jen Schmidt
Tahoe Food Hub’s Farm Shop opened its doors last spring at the Truckee Tahoe Airport, tripling the size of the nonprofit’s previous warehouse and creating room for growth in all areas of the organization. Tahoe Food Hub has been bridging the gap between consumer and producer since launching in 2012 with only five farms and restaurants. The current network includes more than 50 producers within 150 miles and more than 70 local restaurants, small grocers, schools, and hospitals that are supplied with food.
“Our mission is to support sustainable food production by creating a local food system that supports diversified family farms and increases access to local food for North Lake Tahoe,” says Susie Sutphin, Tahoe Food Hub’s executive director. “By forging this network of farmers and eaters, we help small farms increase their economic viability with access to new markets and educate consumers on the economic, social, and environmental benefits of supporting local farms and regenerative agriculture.”
Several local businesses donated money and services to help make the expansion happen. The Truckee Tahoe Airport was among the biggest, helping to provide the infrastructure for a new warehouse. The owners of Kelly Brothers Painting stepped up to supply the drywall and paint, and others donated supplies for floors, windows, and doors. Further fundraising efforts included a crowdfunding campaign and a summer Farm to Table Dinner Series, which helped garner the remainder of capital needed to complete the project.
Sustainable nutrition for all
Along with the Farm Shop’s bounty of fruits, vegetables, pasture-raised eggs, and grass-finished meats, delights found at the shop also include baked goods, specialty cheeses, pickles, and locally roasted artisan coffee. A range of wellness products includes herbal tonics, elixirs, and syrups.
Last August, the food hub launched its new Harvest to Order program. Akin to an online farmers’ market, the service allows people to customize their own boxes of local food. With Harvest to Order, customers can add as much as they’d like to suit their needs. Food is literally “harvested to order” from local farms, and boxes can be picked up at the Farm Shop two days after ordering, ensuring produce is as fresh as can be.
“The main goal always has been to increase access to local food through as many different outlets as possible, first through the wholesale markets, then the Farm Shop, and now through the online program,” Sutphin says.
Efforts are underway to extend the food hub’s reach even further later this year, with the opening of an educational farm in Truckee, the Sierra Growing Classroom. The primary purpose of the farm — within walking distance of five schools — is to continue the education part of the hub’s mission, which is to teach people about food’s origins, growing techniques, and the importance of sustainable agriculture.
“I truly believe that with hands-on learning experiences, children create a better connection to food,” Sutphin says. “Understanding where it comes from teaches them to make better choices, they learn the importance of supporting small farms, and we continue to improve the local food system as a whole.”
Tahoe Food Hub’s Farm Shop
12116 Chandelle Way, Unit D-1, Truckee
530-562-7150 • Tahoefoodhub.org/farm2market/our-farm-shop
To keep up with Tahoe Food Hub’s progress, or to volunteer or donate, visit Tahoefoodhub.org.
Tahoe Food Hub’s Farm Shop offers a variety of locally sourced produce from more than 50 farms and ranches within 100 miles of North Lake Tahoe
Fresh pour-over coffee at the Farm Shop
The shop sells pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed meats, and specialty products
From left, Tara Larson (farm shop manager), Susie Sutphin (founder/executive director), and Marissa Yakaitis (farm-to-market manager)