A life full of flavour
When strawberry farmer Cecilia Jones took her fruit to market, she would end up giving away more than she sold.
The Blenheim grower became known for her generosity over almost half a century of providing fruit to the region.
And it’s this generosity family and friends will remember after the well-known fruit farmer died last month.
Cecilia, 75, had run Jones Berry Fruits on Old Renwick Rd, near Blenheim, for the past 45 years.
Her son Peter Jones says the farm attracted regular customers for decades and his mum was all about supporting local people.
‘‘Her whole reason for running the farm was to provide fruit for Blenheim. She was never about money, she was all about doing good in the community,’’ he says.
‘‘And I think she got that respect back.’’
Cecilia experienced back pain in October but finished the strawberry season before seeking medical attention, Peter says.
‘‘That’s typical mum, she wanted to see the season through,’’ he says.
Doctors discovered stage four pancreatic cancer, as well as secondary cancers in the liver, lungs and spleen, in February.
‘‘It was pretty well spread. But she wasn’t a complainer,’’ Peter says.
She died on June 8 at Hospice Marlborough.
Cecilia was born on her family’s coconut plantation in Phuket, Thailand in 1942.
She met Fred Jones in 1958, and the pair wed the next year in both Thai and Catholic ceremonies.
The family moved to Marlborough in 1969, and opened Jones Berry Fruits in 1972.
Along with strawberries, the couple also farmed raspberries, cherries and boysenberries.
The couple saw the region
‘‘Her whole reason for running the farm was to provide fruit for Blenheim. She was never about money, she was all about doing good in the community.’’
grow and land prices increase, but Peter says his parents were only interested in continuing their strawberry business.
‘‘The land would probably have been 10 times more valuable as a subdivision for homes, but [my parents] were only interested in the fruit,’’ he says. Fred died in 2014, aged 94. Peter, of Christchurch, says the family’s fruits have become renowned throughout the top of the south and hundreds of cards of condolences have been received.
‘‘She was just a good person,’’ he says.
The family will run the farm for another season before deciding what to do with the business and land, Peter says.
Cecilia is survived by children Peter, Christina, Angela and John, and grandchildren Jasper, Nate and Yazmin, Annabelle and Gabriel, and Reuben.
Cecilia Jones at Jones Berry Fruits in 2010.