Memories By— GEORGE WALTERS’ One More Story
By George Walters
Years ago when my Dad was alive, he used to tell me stories of the tough years through out his life along with his early farming days. Story goes, he was having a hard time finding enough sales for his produce or at least not enough to pay the bills. That got him to thinking, since he came from Northern Ontario before his farming days, he new the north pretty well. He also knew that folks up in the north, had a heck of a time getting fresh fruit. That’s where it all started.
He decided to truck fruit to the north, figuring it would help them and him to. He planned out his run and that summer he loaded up his truck with peaches, pears, cherries, pretty well everything he grew. Once there he drove around from house to house, knocking on doors. Ended up he said, he was sold out before dinner. He kept it up and soon had his regular customers and stopped to see them every Saturday. Also along the way up to the north, he started to stop off at small stores and eventually he was selling quite a few baskets to them too. For about ten years he did that and then one day he decided to go to the town and see if they would be interested in opening a Farmers Market, where folks could bring their produce and sell it. Dad going from door to door in the towns and all across the rural areas, got to know a lot of farmers. He got to talking to them and with their help the first Farmers Market was opened in a small town in the Northern Ontario.
For the rest of his life he hauled fruit to that market and did quite well. He had a vision, that Dad of mine and would never sit still when times got tough. Ended up he said, he made more in the tough times, than he did in the good times. Folks began to rely on him being at the market for their fresh fruit and Dad, well, he enjoyed doing it. He loved to talk to folks and what better place than the market.
He had some hard times later on, as once folks realized he was making a good living off hauling fruit to the north, others tried to push in on his customers. But for most parts, they were dedicated and Dad did all right.
I remember him saying how he hauled fruit to this one grocery store and had been keeping them supplied in fresh fruit for over twenty years. One Saturday he pulled the truck up to the door like he always did and started to unload the fruit they ordered. A fellow came out and said.
“Sorry to say this Earl but we won’t be needing your fruit any more. We have found it cheaper to bring it in from, well I won’t say, but another country.”
That upset Dad quite a bit, as he figured that since he had helped build this fellows business and kept him supplied with fresh fruit for so many years, that he shouldn’t be looking elsewhere, just to save a few cents. Also the fruit quality wasn’t half as good as what we grew right here in Ontario.
Ended up old Dad lost that store to sell to but he didn’t take these things lightly. What he did was, just a block away he had made good friends with some folks, that owned some vacant property. He did some thinking and got busy and built a good size fruit market just down the street from the Grocery Store. He then started to make two trips a week, one for the fruit market he built and one for the Farmers Market. For over ten more years, he kept it open and that grocery store ended up moving to another part of town. Still didn’t do too well in the produce department, as Dads customers in town were still dedicated to him.
Back then a fellow had a bit of a chance against the big guys but today of course its a loss cause. To bad too as these small business’s is what made this country and for that matter is what is keeping this country going today. Some just don’t see it, or don’t want to see it. Also, since we don’t grow to much of our own produce in this country any more, we are missing out in what used to be, the best in the world.
Well there you go, how the first fruit arrived to some parts of the north and how one Farmers Market got started.
In Closing, I Would Like To Wish You Well
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