Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Farmer Mark

Meet Farmer Mark Risso from the Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville. He's standing in one of the farm's five hoop houses. Note the rows of gorgeous Swiss chard and kale behind him. Soon they'll be harvested and sold in the farm store, where I dropped a good bit of change after our interview.

Farmer Mark

Meet Farmer Mark Risso from the Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville. He's standing in one of the farm's five hoop houses. Note the rows of gorgeous Swiss chard and kale behind him. Soon they'll be harvested and sold in the farm store, where I dropped a good bit of change after our interview.

Mark's been working here since April 2010, and I consulted him about planning the 2012 vegetable garden because that's one of many topics he'll be giving workshops on in the new year.  It seems impossible that we'll soon be ready to plant peas and spinach again. The catalogues are already arriving.

Mark buys a lot of heirloom seeds and he gardens/farms organically. While we chatted in this 75-degree "house," he grabbed a few leaves of chard and chowed down. When I suggested he must be a great cook, as so many serious gardeners are, he laughed. He and wife Meghan McCracken had a baby (girl - Penelope) only 11 weeks ago, so Mark's response was: "I usually just grab a few leaves and eat." You know how that goes.

He had some good advice on vegetable gardening, which I'll be sharing in a story on Dec. 30.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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