Our market community grieves the loss of Debbie Wiecha, a long-time vendor famous for her amazing organic peaches and fragrant lavender, and much-loved for her generosity and beautiful spirit.
We are assembling photos and tributes to honour the memory of this wonderful woman, gone too soon. If, like many of us, you wish you had gotten to know Debbie better, you may want to read the special article that her sister Jane Andres wrote about her.
On June 6th, there will be a short memorial event at the market.
We asked Debbie’s family if they have a favourite charity, and her daughter Connie replied:
“At Mom’s celebration of life we told people to donate to a cause of their choice, to do so with kindness and generosity just how she lived. Mom loved children and animals, she had a safe haven for wild animals on the farm in need of help. She also volunteered as a camp nurse in early summer for children with special needs. So any camp for kids or wildlife refuge holds a special place in her heart.
Once again thank you and all her loyal peach costumers at Dufferin.”
Photographer and market friend Rebecca Pinkus took a trip to Debbie’s farm, and sent this message with accompanying images:
“I wish I had taken more photos of her that day, but at least she agreed to pose with her peaches for a couple fun shots. She gave me a wonderful tour of the orchards, showed me how she hand-checked every single tree for pests (and then squished them by hand). And then she let me run free with my camera….(Her favourite photos from the day were of her donkeys.)”
Rebecca’s photos of the Niagara Lavender Farm booth at the market:
Messages and Memories from Market Friends
From Joshua Tusin: “My partner Renée and I, along with our kids, have preserved and consumed more of Deb’s peaches (among other things grown on the farm) than I could ever count! We fondly refer to the peaches as “Deb’s peaches” all year, and to anyone and everyone. We hardly eat any peaches other than hers!”
From Karen Fliess: “Debbie Wiecha was an extradorinary person. To me, Debbie’s peach stand was the heart of the summer market at Dufferin Grove and I can’t imagine it without her. It wasn’t just the peaches, and their succulent fragrance, a significant miracle in and of themselves,(not to mention the apricots, nectarines, purple, yellow and red raspberries, and soothing scent of lavender) there was a golden light that radiated and rippled out of Debbie. Her laughter, generosity, kindness and sweetness were as memorable as her incomparable peaches. She had a childlike joy and wonder, a contagious excitement and zest for life that left me feeling so much happier, graced by her presence and our conversation.
Debbie always managed to give me something extra: a pint of berries, an extra basket of peaches, a bunch of lavender. Most of all, she gave me her friendship. I have learned so much from Debbie that I will strive to carry with me. My deepest sympathy to her family.”