Each year the bulletin board in our farm’s office slowly fills up with memories of the season. Things are tacked up as they arise, first in an orderly fashion and then slowly becoming more jumbled as the days get longer and the fields get fuller. Business cards from other local entrepreneurs, funny signs from our creative farmers’ market staff, quotes, and more all crowd together to help us remember what an adventure-filled summer we had.
As we get ready for the 2019 season, we will take down many of last year’s papers and photos to make room for this year’s. Recently, as we were standing around looking at last year’s board, we were laughing and reminiscing. One memory in particular stood out: an email from Kathy, the daughter of one of our most loyal customers at the East York Farmers’ Market.
Frank has been a customer of ours for years . Last summer he attended the market every single week, bringing a flat of berries home with him without fail. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself, but what makes it even more so is that Frank was 96 years old at the time! We received Kathy’s email last fall, once the market concluded for the season:
“A huge thank you to all your staff for being so incredibly welcoming and attentive to my Dad again this season. His favourite day is Tuesday at the East York market for his flats of strawberries and the smiling faces at your booth! At 96 years old he didn’t miss a single Tuesday this summer. Hopefully he’ll see you all next summer!! 😘😘. P.S. he says your berries are the sweetest!!”
Without committed customers like Frank, our farmers’ markets would not be nearly as successful as they are. And they wouldn’t be as enjoyable, either! We looked forward to seeing Frank’s familiar and smiling face each week, and it meant so much to us that our strawberries were so special to him.
We have been emailing back and forth with Kathy over the winter, and were promised some photos from Frank’s 97th birthday party earlier this month. We just received them today and wanted to share with all of you! Take a look at Frank celebrating with his large extended family. His warm smile, sense of humour, and love for his family are clear.
Sadly, just 10 days after turning 97, Frank passed away surrounded by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. We were incredibly sad to hear of his passing, and asked Kathy if we could honour Frank and thank him for his commitment to our farm. We hope he knew how much his weekly market visits meant to us. He will be missed.