Today's blog is written in memory of Frances Burgess, Ed Durant and Eva Hedjucek. It's written in honor of the life and death cycle. It pays homage to the seasonality that our local food systems rely on. Written to remember that life and death are intimately woven into the rhythms of the natural world.
For the most part, this isn't something at the forefront of our minds.
However. While we're beginning a new FarmShare for Homebound Seniors season, we can't help but look at where we came from. What lessons were harvested from last year? What systems will we change to better accommodate our senior customer's needs and the needs of the farmers who grow the food we deliver? What plans did we put to bed last year that will need some tilling to bring to life again? And very importantly; Who of our customers is still among us?
The primary goal of FarmShare for Homebound Seniors is to deliver farm produce selected and ordered by a senior who can't leave their home. Throughout the years we've also noticed other goals. Like, really getting to know our senior customers. Caring about them. Asking about their health, talking about the weather, and recommending newly discovered authors if they're a part of our Book Exchange project.
When we discovered over the past several months that three of our customers had died, we all felt it. More than just customers, these three seniors each made their mark as wonderful folks we were lucky to serve. I'd like to share a little bit about them with you today, a bit of the spark we felt while delivering food to them over the years.
Frances Burgess has been a customer with us since early 2017. She saw an ad on the local television in Greenville and rang us up. She remembers getting Maine Senior Farmshare at Stutzman's when her husband was alive. In recent years, Frances received her produce from the Helio's Horsepower farm in Guilford. We could always count on a wonderfully energetic voice to pick up the phone when we called. Frances suffered from chronic illness yet was alert, high energy and straight to the point. She lived alone, except for her cat Tripod.
Ed Durant was a FarmShare for Homebound Seniors customer since 2017. He received produce from Stutzman's Farm in Sangerville. Sometimes when we showed up to deliver he would be outside his apartment complex on his telephone by the picnic table. He used a motorized scooter and would zip over to say hello in his sunglasses. He had good neighbors at his apartment complex and it was obvious they looked out for him. One delivery day his neighbor shared that he was out at a Willie Nelson concert!
Eva Hedjucek has also been a FarmShare for Homebound Seniors customer since 2017. True to PR Food Centers philosophy of getting to know the folks we do business with, the screening call between Erin and Eva included a back and forth on favorite genres of books. We found out then that Eva had a wonderful appetite for books in addition to good farm food. And so, during the summer of 2017 we began delivering books to Eva, and then began delivering books to a few others. Unbeknownst to Eva, or us back then, she created a bit of a legacy in the Book Exchange project that we offer currently
with produce deliveries. I will always remember Eva chuckling and firmly stating that she did not want any poetry, no documentaries, no Agatha Christy and please, no raunchy stuff. She did however, enjoy Harlequin, wholesome romance, mystery and suspense and the author Mary Higgins Clark. Eva also enjoyed Hungarian recipes and any kind of cucumber we could get.
It's worth embracing it all, don't you think? Life and death cycle in its entirety. Our seasonal program FarmShare for Homebound Seniors will continue. We will sign up new customers, and other customers will pass away. The seeds continue to be seeded after the previous harvest has been completed and the ground freezes and thaws. Frances, Ed and Eva were integral customers who continue to inform our work and how we operate our program. These seasonal and cyclical lessons can be reminders to cherish what is happening, and who you connect with.