A life full of flavour

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - JEF­FREY KITT

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.

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