Before joining Rivendale Farms as general manager in August 2017, Christine Grady worked with the United Way to develop a pilot program delivering fresh, healthy foods to underserved communities in Pittsburgh. Born in Sydney, Australia, as the daughter of a diplomat, Christine grew up living around the world, including Senegal, Gabon, Turkey and England. She moved to Pittsburgh five years ago and lives in the Mexican War Streets.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
I think I’m probably most excited about Steelers Training Camp! We’ll be there on opening day sampling our ice cream — it will also be really nice to see the famous team that consumes so much Rivendale produce. I’m looking forward to a few days off in August to visit family in Europe.
What is your favorite part of working on a farm?
I’m a big softie when it comes to animals — so this is perfect for me. It brings together everything that I’m interested in: the challenges of establishing and growing a new business, the connection to whole, healthy foods and sustainable agriculture and beautiful animals.
How did you come to be living in Pittsburgh, and what about the city resonates with you?
I was only planning on being here for a few months while I did some serious thinking about my next steps. I reached out to organizations that were in fields that I was interested in and offered to volunteer. Now here I am five years later. I had opportunities in Pittsburgh that I would never have been afforded in London.
What is your long-term mission for Rivendale Farms?
Everything we do is based on creating the very best quality products possible. We want Rivendale to be synonymous with quality, not just in Pittsburgh but also at a national and an international level. I believe we are already on our way to achieving that. I was recently in Connecticut at a farming event with people from all over the country and Canada, and so many people are talking about Rivendale, it’s surprising. We’ve had interest from all over the world.
What’s your big idea for Pittsburgh?
I do miss the way I used to shop for food in London — at the end of my street all day every Saturday and Sunday were the fruit and vegetable stands. I also had two butchers and a baker within a block of my house. We have some really nice farmer’s markets in Pittsburgh, but I wish we had access to that more consistently and year-round.
If you could be an ice cream flavor, which one would you be and why?
I think I would be vanilla because I like to try so many different things. My taste in food and fashion is eclectic and mood driven, so I would say I would be a classic base for all the fabulous toppings.
We arrive for dinner. What’s on the menu?
Probably something from a Nigel Slater cookbook. I love cooking, and I adore Nigel Slater. He is not only a wonderful cook, but he crafts just wonderful narratives or stories around food — his books are more literature and poetry than recipe books.
Last photo you took on your phone?
A gorgeous Jersey calf. I stopped up at the barn this morning to catch up with our dairy team, and if you see those animals, it’s impossible not to take a picture.
At what Pittsburgh restaurant do you always order dessert?
What’s one thing in Pittsburgh that you are most looking forward to trying or seeing?
I’m desperate for someone to turn the terminal building into a proper food hall. I know there are plans in place, I just hope they get the mix right. That’s something that could be really exciting if done well.
What book is on your nightstand or in your e-reader right now?
Not very cerebral, but I was stranded yesterday with flight delays and cancellations, so I picked up David Lagercrantz’s “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” at the airport.
Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?
In summer depending on the music schedule, I would grab picnic food from Mediterra Café (just opened in Sewickley — perfect picnic foods) and take some blankets to an outdoor concert, Summer Fridays at the Frick or an evening at Hartwood Acres.
What’s your Pittsburgh comfort food?
Who is the last person you texted (and what was it about)?
I use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family in Europe. I have a lot of family in Paris, so there’s been a lot of World Cup discussion.
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