Such has been the case with retired gardener Bobby Lyle, who was born and raised in Cleveland where his love of farming was cultivated and flourished over the years.
Lyle, 73, said when he retired he needed something to do and went to work in what has proven to be a hobby, a good habit
“I like providing good produce for the public,” said Lyle. “Some of this is locally grown but some of it is not.”
Lyle who works for Bobby Orr, owner of Bobby Orr’s Fruit Stand off Stuart Road in Cleveland, said he still grows some fruits and vegetables himself.
His favorite homegrown item is the tomato because of the taste
“The watermelons are good. The peaches are good. Everything here is good and it’s good for you,” said Lyle, reaching for a huge onion.
“These are strawberry onions. They’re sweet. If you haven’t tried one you need to.”
According to Lyle, his enjoyment comes from being around and selling produce but especially from meeting the people.
“I love to meet people and this is a good way to do it,” he said. “The secret is to do what you love.”
Married for 51 years, Lyle said he and his wife had one child, a daughter, who died of lung cancer at the age of 47 two years ago. It was around this time that Lyle decided to get out and meet more people while selling produce in the community.
Customers came by, not only to purchase fresh vegetables but to talk a while with Lyle, a very friendly and kind gentleman ... and to support their local farmers.
“The vegetables here are a lot better,” said Danny Watson.
“I used to buy a lot of my stuff from Bobby Orr in the past. I’ve known him a long time. I use to raise watermelons myself.”
“People ask me, ‘Will you pick me a good watermelon?’ I say God didn’t give me eyes strong enough to see that red in there,” Lyle said as he and Watson started laughing.
“Cut it and if it’s red, it’s ripe!” Watson added with a laugh.
“There’s no real way to tell otherwise,” Lyle interjected as they laughed on.
Lyle’s top-selling produce is their sun-ripened red tomatoes, although he was already down to one cantaloupe before 11 a.m.
Some customers said the prices and the produce are considered better at fruit stands than many grocery stores and are more convenient for thrifty shoppers.