Meet Mark Bishop. He’s the father of the thriving, Master’s Touch. I say “father” because while he is the head of the company, it was actually his son, Jonathan, who started the business. Fresh out of high school, Jonathan used his passion for plants to germinate a unique business from their backyard.
Mark and Jonathan, along with the help of Mark’s other son, hand crafted the three greenhouses and a vegetable garden that are now located next to their home in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
They began with caring for fig trees. Within no time they found themselves growing everything from vegetables like squash, cucumbers, figs, leeks, and beans to more rare and exotic plants that can now be found in their greenhouses. Mark and Jonathan pride themselves on specializing in exotic, fruiting trees from around the world. Their greenhouses contain specialties such as grape plants, fig trees, olive trees, pepper plants, jasmine, stevia plants and so much more. They also grow and sell various annuals and perennials at the markets each week.
Everything the Bishops grow is sold at local farmers markets. Master’s Touch sells at Bethesda Central Farm Market and two other markets that are located near their hometown. The family happily consumes the product that doesn’t get sold.
Walking through the busy Bethesda Central Farm Market, one plant is destined to catch your eye with its is gigantic green and purple leaves. This specialty plant is an exotic fruiting tree from Peru called Naranjilla. The fruit that grows on this tree is a cross between an orange and a kiwi and is used in many dishes in Peru. Another large interesting plant found at their weekly stand is what they call the “sensitive plant.” You have to see it, or touch it to believe it. When the leaves of this plant are touched, the plant’s cells react to the moisture on your fingertips and the leaves retract, like all the fingers closing into a fist!
I encourage you to stop by Master’s Touch for a chat the next time you are at the market. Whether it is Mark or Jonathan manning the booth, they are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, as well as acquaint you with some of their exotic species and give you the back stories on their acquisition.
For their loyal customers at Bethesda Central Farm Market, Master’s Touch is offering a one-time discount on Sunday, August 3. Four of their more interesting plants will be on sale to readers of the blog! The Passionflower will be discounted by $5, the Naranjilla will be $10 off. They’ll also take $10 off the price of the Chicago Hardy Fig Tree and the Spanish Olive Tree!