As a younger man, Mark studied farming and sustainable agriculture at North Carolina State University and Central Carolina Community College. He subsequently purchased a small piece of land outside of Asheville, NC, where he went about the tasks of building greenhouses, amending soil, putting fencing up, constructing coops and other animal houses, eradicating invasive species, planting an orchard of heirloom fruit trees and growing unique and delicious vegetables. In 2007, he set up his stand at a fledgling farmers market located on an island in the French Broad River, and introduced himself to the market founder and manager. Her name was Delia.
Delia first moved to Madison in 1993 to attend the University of Wisconsin. After ten fun years of cooking and serving at area restaurants, she earned a graduate degree in Library Science and subsequently took a job as program director of the Madison County Arts Council outside of Asheville, NC. She loved her small Appalachian town, but could not abide the lack of a farmers market, so she started a small but genial one herself. To her great fortune, Mark drove his truck of exquisite heirloom vegetables into the market one day, and it wasn't long before she became a Gallo (or "rooster" in Italian) too. Together they grew vegetables, flowers, herbs and raised pastured pork and free-range eggs, all of which they sold to area restaurants and at the Asheville City Market. In 2011, drawn by deep community connections, the abundant opportunities for sustainable agriculture, and the region's great natural beauty, they happily packed up their rototiller and moved with their two sons Enzo and Nico back to Wisconsin.
After working with Joel and Jai Kellum at King's Hill Farm for the past year, Team Gallo is pleased as Punch to make it their full-time home and livelihood. Viva the family farm!