Meet Tom and Leanne Tarzwell, who are setting a high bar for natural, local, and humane animal husbandry. They rely 100% on local customers and strive for 100% local inputs in order to help build a food system that will endure for generations.
Who are the farmers at Tarzwell Farms?
Tom and Leanne Tarzwell
Where are you located?
And what do you do?
Beef and only beef. A number of people ask if we will start to raise other animals and Tom always says “We do one thing and try to do it well!”
How would your describe your operation?
We provide beef that have been born, raised, fed, and harvested, right here in the Creston Valley. We raise the animals naturally without hormones or routine antibiotics, and we allow time and feed to finish the animals. We strive to source everything we can locally. We have all of the beef inspected in our on-farm inspection facility and graded by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency to ensure that a minimum quality is met.
How long have you been farming?
Tom is a second generation farmer. I (Leanne) am originally from Nelson–I have a background in accounting but I have always enjoyed working with animals. When we got married is when I became a farmer.
What motivated you to start?
Tom started because it was in his blood and he had an opportunity to buy out his father when he retired.
What are some of your greatest joys?
Some of our greatest joys are:
- New baby calves – showing promise for the years to come
- Providing customers with a product that we have invested two years in that they enjoy is so gratifying
- Hearing from customers that they enjoyed the best steak/ roast/ground beef ever or that they enjoy beef again because ours doesn’t give them headaches or stomach aches and that they know it was humanely raised and slaughtered.
What are some of your greatest challenges?
Some of the greatest challenges are: explaining to folks that beef are not made up of 100% tenderloin steaks – you have to use the whole thing! Trying to educate people about why local beef seems so expensive.
What’s your vision for your business?
We would love for our farm to eventually be taken over by one of the children (Arthur and Elizabeth) as well as have the farm grow to where it can actually be the only job Tom has.
And why is local food important to you?
Because we sell our beef 100% locally (until the early ’90s a number of the beef were shipped but Tom decided then to start selling everything as farm gate sales) we rely 100% on local customers and the local economy to be purchasing our beef and supporting us. We therefore, source everything we can as local as we can. Tom and I don’t even have passports as we are really adamant that we don’t want to feed another country’s economy if we can at all avoid it.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members, what would it be?
Thank you for the amazing support of our farm and product.