An engineer with a love for the homegrown food experience
Chris Mattingly, Owner
The story of Backyard Eats starts a lot like yours. My wife and I wanted fresh, local, sustainably grown produce, and we wanted to watch it grow. Our first year, we gave it 110%, and got back very little. Year after year, we learned our lessons and focused our efforts. We finally had success with the garden, and even found time to harvest the food. But the real joy--the one that we wanted to share with the world through Backyard Eats--came from cooking with our backyard produce. We found ourselves storing the garden shears in the kitchen drawer, since we often ran out to the garden while cooking to grab some fresh herbs or to make a quick salad. We developed a repertoire of fast and delicious ways to use our veggies, and found ourselves going to the grocery store only for products that complemented our yield. When we pulled a tray of dark red roasted cherry tomatoes with fresh rosemary out of the oven, we would look at each other and say that we were #livingthedream. When the opportunity came to start a business, there was no question that helping others to "live the dream" was a worthy endeavor.
As a design engineer, and registered professional civil engineer with a focus on soil and environmental engineering, I delight in the complexity of interactions that occur in a garden between soil particles, insects, plants, building materials, the sun, wind, and rain, and of course, the people that tend to them. As a designer, I enjoy finding the combination of all those things that make them work in harmony and to mutual benefit.
I've completed training as a Master Gardener through the Penn State Agricultural Extension, and the Phila. Orchard Project’s “urban orchardist” training.
I am currently working with teachers and students at the Jenks Academy of the Arts and Sciences in Chestnut Hill to bring education into the raised bed gardens that I designed, built, and continue to maintain.