It’s refreshing to meet people who are so passionate about growing food and sharing their knowledge about growing with others as well. Mechelle and Ryan Bertollini are definitely those kind of people, good folks and just so enthusiastic. They are owners of B&B Homegrown, an urban farm via their home in Colorado Springs.
Mechelle, Ryan, and their daughter are Michigan natives and they have called Colorado Springs home since 1997. I’ve been a fan of them since last year when I saw their booth at the Colorado Farm and Art Market and this year I’ve gotten to know them a little more. It was a pleasure when I was finally able to visit their home recently. I was in awe with how well they have used just about every inch of outdoor space for growing all sorts of heirloom produce, plants, and flowers.
Their front yard, their driveway, their backyard and they are even starting to use one of their neighbor’s unused backyards as a future sight for growing more things. Mechelle and Ryan currently work with three other families who grow for them, but don’t sell with them at the markets. Both Mechelle and Ryan are very friendly and personable people and it’s difficult not to get into a long conversation with them!
It would be great if more people used their front and backyards to grow edible things instead of just ornamental plants. Maybe it will catch on more, in the near future.
This is only their second year of growing and selling at market and Mechelle and Ryan shared with me all of their previous failures that they learned from. It’s inspiring to see how much they have learned since last year and they are, of course, continuously learning as they go. Not only do they share a love for agriculture, but Ryan is also in a band and Mechelle is active in the roller derby community.
They also make herb infused vinegars and I have tried and fell in love with the basil-garlic-lemon vinegar and the balsamic jalapeño vinegar. They are perfect to dress my salad greens with, which I have gotten plenty of in my weekly CSA shares!
Be sure to check them out at the Colorado Farm and Art Market Wednesdays at the Fine Arts Center Sculpture Garden (3-7pm) and at the Margarita at Pine Creek on Saturdays (9am-1pm). They always have an interesting variety of things and if you have any questions, Mechelle and Ryan are always more than happy to help answer them! They don’t have a website, but they do have a Facebook page. It’s best just to try to talk to them in person, that is their preferred way of connecting with people.