Grow Pittsburgh’s Garden Get Down has always been a celebration of growing and sharing food at the peak of harvest season. But this year we’re trying something new. We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be honoring a few of the most dedicated growers and fresh food lovers in our community.

This year’s “Farm Stand MVP” honoree is R.T. Crystian! R.T. is a lifelong Pittsburgh resident from the Hill District and has been a long-time supporter of our farm stands. He has a love for fresh produce and has been eating a vegan diet for thirty years. For over a decade he has been showing up every week to show his support, stock up on fresh-grown veggies, and connect with the community. 

About 10 years ago, R.T. discovered Shiloh Farm and it soon became a part of his weekly routine to shop the farm stand. When R.T. heard about our farm stand in Braddock, he began going there weekly as well! “I love going to Shiloh Farm and Braddock Farms. I think the food that I’m buying is well worth the travel,” he said.

For R.T., shopping at the farm isn’t just about picking up groceries, but also connecting with his community. “I meet people here. It’s a social outing for me. I especially have enjoyed meeting other individuals who have a similar interest. I just enjoy the sense of community” he explained.

Beyond his personal benefits, RT extends his farm-fresh generosity to loved ones. He often buys extra produce to share with family and friends. “I go to a library here in Homewood three or four times a week, and I’ll buy something from Shiloh for my friends at the library.”

R.T.’s greatest joy is being able to spend time with his grandchildren. When he can, he loves to share things from the farm stand with them like berries and snap peas!

He enjoys chatting with the farmers, learning about their farming practices, and gaining insights into the seasonal bounty.  “One of the reasons I like the produce so much is that it’s local and organic. I get to know the farmers and I can see what I’m buying. I can see it growing up. It excites me.” R.T. said. 

“R.T. has been a fixture of our farm stands for many years. He’s so enthusiastic about all of our produce and he buys produce for his family and friends. He’s always has a smile on his face.” explained Silvan, Shiloh Farm manager. “He’s a really welcoming presence at the farm stands. He tells other people about Grow Pittsburgh produce and how important it is to have fresh produce in the city. He is also the healthiest eater I know!”

R.T. is excited to come to the Garden Get Down and celebrate the harvest with us! Join us on August 13th to celebrate R.T. and the rest of this year’s Get Down Honorees, including our “Resilient Community Growers” and our “School Garden Hero” awardees.