Marina & Kris Schwarzbach

Sunset Natural Farms, LLC

After being diagnosed with cancer at age 20, Marina Schwarzbach vowed to change her family's eating habits. The Wood River Valley native and husband, Kris, grew food in their backyard garden, read labels and eliminated preservatives. In 2017, the high school sweethearts purchased five acres in Shoshone to produce "chemical-free" food for the community. Operating under the "naturally grown" label, Sunset Natural Farms practices regenerative farming methods.

LFA: What inspired you to start farming?
MS: We wanted to share with our local community the benefits that we reap from growing our own food. We feel that everyone should have access to locally grown food that is fresh, full of nutrients and chemical free. Food should not have to be shipped on a truck for days and picked before it is ripe when it can be grown and provided locally.

LFA: What do you love most about it?
MS: We love the rewarding feeling we get from the support and appreciation of the community for what we do and provide to them.

LFA: What are your biggest challenges?
MS: Our biggest challenge is working an off-farm job.

LFA: Where do you currently sell your food?
MS: Atkinsons' in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue, Kraay's Market & Garden, The Village Market and some local restaurants and private orders.

LFA: How do you balance farming with a 9-to-5 job?
MS: We work day jobs, then farm on evenings and weekends. There’s not much time for balance when there is work to be done.

LFA: What hopes and dreams do you have for your farm?
MS: We hope to both be working full time on the farm in the future and to expand our growing operation.

LFA: Who is your food hero?
MS: Our food heroes are every small farmer who puts in the hard work to grow food and provide it locally despite all the challenges they face going up against larger farms and corporations to bring healthy, local, sustainable, chemical-free food to people’s tables.

LFA: What’s your definition of “good food”?  
MS: Our definition of good food is locally grown food  with no chemical inputs.

LFA: What’s your family’s favorite meal made with ingredients from your farm?
MS: Fried green tomato sliders with homemade coleslaw. We make these every year it is one of our favorite things to make during the growing season.

LFA: What’s your end goal or what impact do you hope to have in terms of food?
MS: Our main goals are to provide quality local food to the community and make a livable wage doing it.

LFA: What change(s) would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food?
MS: We have a great support system in the Wood River Valley in terms of food, but I would like to see more restaurants and stores working with local farmers. We also would like to see more education pertaining to where food comes from and what it takes to produce that food and put it on the table.

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