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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.