Above: Brook working in produce back in 2014.
We hired him because of his perseverance and determination. By the third summer of repeatedly meeting with Ryan to drop off his resume, it was time to give this student a job. Young Brook was slight of stature and quiet, but after being part of our Lepp Farm Family for 8 years, he has left a giant pair of hiking boots to fill.
We are mourning the loss of our friend Brook this past week, a kind and adventurous young man. As we’ve shared memories and tried to come to grips with his absence, the snapshot of Brook that has emerged is of a man who loved everything about nature. Trees were to be saluted and thanked for their oxygen, mountains were to be traversed and photographed, and every sunrise and sunset was enough reason to stop all activity and appreciate the beauty.
Above: Brook working at Applelooza, October 2019
Working alongside Brook was always a treat. Meticulously stacked fruits were often attributed to Brook’s handiwork, if not stacked by him, he had instructed many a coworker on his techniques. His happy-go-lucky attitude set the tone in the produce department. Requests were met with a “yes, Chef!” (he never worked in a kitchen), or “oy, mate!” A favourite meme of his was when people could be heard in a grocery store saying, “I’m just gonna sneak right past ya.” No puns were off-limits, and April 1st was a day to rename the produce. Cucumbers were Long English Water Tubes. Onions were layered balls of tears. Two apples and a pear were “a pair of apples.”
Above: Brook’s produce signs for April Fool’s Day.
In between those moments, Brook entertained us with his dead-pan humour and practical jokes. His laughter rang throughout the market, often overtop of a lot of other noise. His smile lit up a room, and he wore shorts even on the coldest days of the year. His perseverance and determination were never more evident than when he set out in April, 2018 to complete the Pacific Crest Trail. Four months and 4,000 kilometres of through-hiking later, a group of us went to meet him at the trail’s end in Manning Park. Each friend was joyfully embraced in a stinky hug.
Above: Lepp Farm Market staff at Fieldhouse in 2018 when we sent Brook off on his Pacific Crest Trail journey.
We salute you Brook for the life-giving oxygen you breathed into our market. You showed us that every mountain can be conquered with enough training and determination. We promise to stop and think of you every time we see a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We will hold you in our hearts forever. Happy trails, my dude.
If you would like to contribute to the costs of his funeral there is a GoFundMe page here.