Hi! Welcome to my farm, phillyGrown.farm, where I grow a wide variety of finest quality specialty mushrooms in Philadelphia. My name is Jack Linton, and phillyGrown.farm is the first step in my greater plan to develop an integrative farming system that brings together the best farming practices of both the rural and urban communities.
I was born slightly north of the the city in Bucks County, just on the edge of farm country where most of the ground was dominated by corn fields and dairy farms. The landscape has changed quite a bit since those days, but I never lost my appreciation for what those traditional farms represented to me (apparently I told my mom that I wanted to be a farmer when I was three years old). Everything about farming seemed so pure and beautiful that I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my life.
After I graduated from Temple University with Horticulture Science degree, I had much better idea of what farming was really like. I won't spend too much time bashing the old ways here in this bio, but suffice it to say I wasn't terribly happy with what I had learned about the true nature of how our food is produced. I had much better vision in my mind of the way I thought farming could be with a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of time and hard work.
My first job out of college was an internship at the Burpee Seeds trial and research farm called Ford Hook Farm. It's the original farm that W. Atlee Burpee ran his company from back in the late 19th century. It a truly beautiful place, and I highly recommend that you pay it a visit during one of their annual open house events if you haven't already. I worked with the tomatoes, trialing new varieties and comparing them to the old tried and true varieties. Did you know that the Brandywine Tomato is one of the original products from the Burpee catalogue back in the 1890s? That's what I call an heirloom.
From there I started a job as grower in hydroponics facility in Southern NJ. I grew all sorts of things from salad greens to microgreens, and lots and lots of culinary herbs. I learned a lot about how to run a farming business, as well as a lot of other lessons about how difficult farm work is that you just can't learn without having done it yourself.
There was always a little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I really wanted to be doing organic farming, so I bid farewell to hydroponics and moved to a beautiful property out in Newtown Square, PA. I was back to growing tomatoes, but this time I added in peppers and tomatillos to my repertoire. I exclusively used organic methodology and honed my skills at growing the finest, best tasting vegetables that the ground could produce. There's a part of me that really misses walking through my rows of tomatoes and peppers, picking them directly off the plants and eating them like apples. I never thought I could eat 10 tomatoes a day and not get tired of eating them, but the truth is that I only gained a greater appreciation for all the shapes, sizes, and flavors available in the huge catalogue available to us these days. (By the way, my favorite tomato is hands down the variety called Tomatoberry Garden from the Burpee catalogue. Gasp! A hybrid! You haven't lived until you you've stuffed yourself full of those little guys, at least in my opinion!)
My experiences at the organic farm shaped the way that I currently feel about agriculture: we need to phase out animal production and increase sustainability by using low/no-till, organic agriculture that uses all on-farm inputs. There are no perfect farming solutions, but this is the closest that we are going to get to ideal circumstances where we feed everyone healthy food and minimize our negative impacts on the environment.