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A Story About The (Original) Reston Farm Market

A Letter From a Long-Time Customer

Terminal Disease

I have just learned that a very important part of my life is dying of a terminal disease. That part of my life is the RESTON FARM MARKET. The disease ... "PROGRESS!"

We moved into this area from Mclean in 1978. The RFM was little more than a roadside stand in a shed at that time. From the beginning, owner, Hall Kern, had a knack for hiring "people people," and I always had a rapport with a favorite or two as times and people and the RFM changed. June, was everyone's favorite! She was a gardner and a cook and a grandma, just like me. You could ask her anything and she could help or suggest and give you the recipe or get it for you! Dee was a character and I think we were all sure she'd have that baby in the market! By then there was a roof and they sold a whole variety of things. The cider started in '81 and in '84 the start of the pumpkin mound that would become Fort Pumpkin! The fragrant pieces of greens at holiday time grew, and in about '85, became a thriving Christmas tree business.

Then ... came a major threat to RFM's very existence. They were told the area was to be re-zoned! Through lots of petitions and the hard work of her friends, and pleas to the right people, they were allowed to stay if only local produce and products were sold and the roof had to go. WHEW!

She rose and became better than ever. They used to close right after Christmas, and in the spring we would all rush in to see the changes and adjust to the new layout or regulations/restrictions. The first several trips of the year were SO expensive! My favorite remark after seeing the cash register tally was "I own this place!" As the summer came on the prices would go down and level off. Fort Pumpkin became such a big deal that those of us regulars would stay away on the weekends it became so crowded! The big green and white tent was more fun than a circus. The straw people mannequins started wearing zanier clothes according to the season, and began multiplying! The cider came out of spigots and you could fill jugs of any size. Even raspberry flavored. Wonderful local musicians were scheduled and entertained pretty much all weekend, and added a great party atmosphere to go with a piece of free watermelon or cantaloupe when they became plentiful. Roasted peanuts, and BBQ'd corn-on-the-cob. All of the helpful helpers were wearing tie-dyed shirts to match. You could even buy RFM shirts! Not only were fresh-cut flowers available to buy, they would even take special orders and do arrangements.

The plant and garden supply defied any anywhere and all of the garden helpers in green were VERY knowledgable and helpful. Lois has helped me for years, and Carlos is great. Our garden has been All RFM since Wayne came in '93. A good 90% of our garden consists of RFM plants. I know I drove them nuts each year waiting for the Pentas to come in.

I haven't bought eggs ANYwhere else in at least five years. Now we're even hooked on the bacon, expensive as it is. I know other places sell "Mom's Pies," but I always get them from RFM when company is coming. Some of our favorite Christmas ornaments have come from their wonderful after Christmas sales, and will be a yearly reminder of RFM. And always the "people people. Peggy, for years has been the quietly busy "jack of all trades." She always appears to be so calm and seems to always be there when things are busy and crazy. Michelle too, so pleasant and helpful. She and I know each other by name! Pretty Sara too, has been a great produce manager. She and Wayne have come by way of most of my monetary expenditures. Sara could always point out the tastiest of the tomatoes. When corn season hit I was a daily customer. I gave her a hard time for shutting down before the season was over last summer, but the apples had to come in, and I was right in line for those Nittanies.

The disease had probably started very early in 1985, and it always brought changes, but RFM always adapted and was made the better for it. Like the "Little Engine That Could," it seemed to bounce back "smelling like a rose."

The first sign of the beginning of the end was the construction trailer. The surrounding area suddenly closed in and the ways in and out were changed drastically as was the parking. PROGRESS! Twelve acres became 2, but we were all adjusting with each change. The company building the new homes rising up around and RFM appeared to be getting along very harmoniously. Now open in the winter for two years, I was making my weekly trip for eggs & bacon and whatever produce Sara could bring in when the first rumbles were heard about NO TENT next year ... and now the dreaded news … only until August!

When a dear friend or family member tells you his/her disease is terminal, about the best thing you can do for them (and you), is to continue loving and supporting them for as long as their time remains. This I will do, dear friends of RFM. Thank you for being such an important part of my life. My car knows just how to get there, depending on the time of day. I will miss you more than you can ever know.

So Wayne, when will the Pentas be in?!