Good Food, Good People: FarmTableWest supplies local community with fresh produce
A local Cody business, focused on supplying its community with fresh produce, started when Founder and President Zach Buchel established FarmTableWest, an online farmers’ market that has now grown into a full-time farm.
“We started in 2016-17 by selling produce through our online grocery store, delivering to customers who lived in close proximity to Cody,” Zach states. “In 2020-21, I switched my focus to farming full time and began delivering goods to local restaurants and retailers.”
FarmTableWest continues to offer online ordering, and it’s as easy as one-two-three. Customers can place a weekly order, schedule a time for delivery or pick it up.
Veggie boxes are also available from Zach’s farm starting the first of July and running through September.
On a mission
Originally from Chicago, Zach started visiting Wyoming with his family when he was younger, as the family had a house in Cody.
“I received my first glimpse of farming when I worked for a local farmer at the Shoshone River Farm,” he explains.
“I was hooked from the beginning, I enjoy everything from planting to harvesting. It has become an obsession,” Zach says. “I am on a mission to see this format of farming become a trade, and as a long-term goal, and I want to train individuals.”
Currently, Zach is farming one acre of land and hopes to increase his growing capacity to fill about three acres, allowing him to utilize his intensive farming techniques.
He says, “I am excited to see the farm grow, and just recently, I was able to hire my first part-time employee. I hope to hire more employees as we grow.”
The ups and downs of farming
FarmTableWest is home to a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens, root vegetables, herbs and Zach’s favorite – tomatoes.
“We grow in caterpillar tunnels, as well as a high tunnel greenhouse,” he says. “I had to learn how to grow year-round in Wyoming’s challenging climate, and I continue to learn year after year.”
The farm mainly utilizes geothermal heating, as well as some propane heat to help keep costs down. But, most of the crops are grown without any added heat.
“My biggest challenge has been the deer, but the new tunnel system seems to be helping,” Zach notes. “Other challenges the farm has had to conquer, besides the deer, was improving the soil. However, implementing specific compost has caused dramatic improvements.”
He explains, “Aphids can be a problem at times, but adding ladybugs, predatory wasps and occasionally using non-synthetic sprays, such as neem oil and organic soap, have helped eradicate the pesky bugs.”
The future looks bright
The farm hopes to bring in flowers and more pollinators over the next few years as they continue building their organic product line.
Zach would like to add to his vegetable lineup and continue providing produce to local restaurants while maintaining working relationships with other local farmers.
“Another project I am working on is our YouTube channel. I created the channel to share cool interviews with business owners, farm tours, cooking videos or just random thoughts that pop in my head,” he notes.
For more information on FarmTableWest, visit farmtablewest.com.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.