Tara Rockacy had no plans to farm when she bought her family's farm in 2007. Although the family had grown their own food and raised animals on the land since her grandfather purchased it in the early 1940s, they never farmed commercially.
With no formal training or experience in agriculture, Tara began growing her own food after moving to the farm and soon found herself with an abundance of produce until one day a friend asked, "Why don't you sell these vegetables instead of giving them away?"
In 2009 Tara started a CSA, and she now has 30 members. In addition to a variety of vegetables, she just added strawberries, raspberries, and heirloom fruit trees with plans to add blueberries next year. Tara also has 30 hens with plans for about 20 more.
A unique feature of Churchview Farm is the relationship with the local Pittsburgh restaurant, E2. Kate Romane, the owner of E2, features produce and eggs from the farm on the restaurant menu. Tara explained that the close relationship between the farm and the restaurant has allowed both her and Kate to learn about food production from the grower and chef perspective.
In addition to the CSA and restaurant, Tara also sells produce at a Pittsburgh farmers market where she partners with a nearby organic meat producer to sell at their stand, and in turn they sell their meat through her CSA. Although Tara was recently able to quit her full-time job, she still needs plenty of help on the farm and employs one CSA manager as well as four workshares and three interns from Chatham University's School of Sustainable Food and the Environment.
For more information on Churchview Farm and E2, visit: