The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Market and Cafe will soon be open for our spring and summer hours! We’re located at 1713 Main Street, Burgettstown, PA in the recently refurbished, historic Burgettstown Train Station. There are so many wonderful changes taking place for our CVO family, and as a result, you’ll notice lots of new faces at our farm market stand and in the retail store.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Katie Sofio, our Retail Sales and Event Assistant. You’ll see Katie behind the counter of our new Farm Market and Cafe, assisting customers, keeping the shelves stocked, and being an all-around awesome addition to the CVO family.
Meet Katie Sofio: Retail Sales and Event Assistant
Katie was raised in Washington state, surrounded by so much natural beauty, including colorful wildflowers, snow-capped mountains, clear rivers, rushing waterfalls, evergreen trees, luscious rainforests, and the majestic ocean. “All of these elements of the beauty of the earth and the vastness of ecology left an impression in my subconscious when I was very young!” says Katie.
Her interest in gardening began when Katie’s dad planted a vegetable garden in their backyard during the summer she turned 11 years old. “I remember helping him dig up the corner of the yard, planting the seeds, then watering and weeding to nurture our plants along,” she recalls. “When we finally harvested our first fruits, it was pretty exciting. We ate the broccoli, even though we found a few worms in it. Our carrots turned out stubby and the watermelon didn’t make it past the size of a baseball, but it didn’t matter. The whole experience ignited my love for growing, especially growing something I could eat,” Katie jokes. You’ll see Katie and her dad together in the photo below.
“The world of agriculture began to fascinate me,” she adds. “How does a tiny seed have EVERYTHING inside it to produce a fruit big enough to eat? And how does the process happen? All I do is plant and water it, and make sure nothing gets in the way of its growth, but how does the rest happen?” she started to wonder. “When I was a kid, it always seemed like magic.”
Katie has an undergrad degree in Philosophy and Theology and a Masters in Education. “I taught grade school for nine years and high school for one before joining Cherry Valley Organics. But, I did find a way to fit my love for growing into my teaching career. At the first school I worked at, I started a 36 ft x 36 ft school garden,” she says. “It became known as the ‘outdoor classroom’ where students in grades Pre K – 8 participated in growing, harvesting, and eating a wide variety of vegetables.” Katie’s student gardeners grew corn, radish, lettuce, tomatoes, okra, broccoli, zucchini, and squash, to name just a few.
“Facilitating this hands-on experience for the students for five years is still one of my proudest accomplishments,” Katie notes. “And I’m happy to say the garden still exists today! And, I still enjoy sharing a love of gardening with kids. These days, though, my niece and nephew are my ‘students’.”
Katie’s Contribution to CVO
Katie is responsible for opening and closing the store, welcoming and engaging with our customers, and taking care of the plants, flowers, produce, and products at the shop. She’ll also be selling CVO products at outside events, such as artisan marketplaces, craft shows, farming events, and more.
The Message Katie Wants to Share with Our Customers
“Buy local whenever you can,” Katie stresses. “You’re giving yourself a gift. The sooner you can get food off the vine and into your body, the better it is for your cells!”
“Your mitochondria want energy to power your body, and the fresher your food is, the more energy it’s going to give you. Knowing where your food came from (down the road vs. from a truck that drove for several days) makes a big difference.”
Five years from now, Katie would love to see CVO become a well-known organic brand in Pennsylvania, and for our products to be selling in stores in at least 5 different states. “I’d love to see the farm expand to grow on double the acres we currently farm. And, I’d love to see the size of our team double to keep up with the demand for our produce, flowers, herbs, and products.” It’s a dream we all share here at CVO.
To get to know more of the CVO farm family, check out the following articles:
From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family