ITHACA, N.Y. — Last week, several dozen local residents gathered at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market to remember the life of Robin Sue Ostfeld.
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Ostfeld, a co-founder of Blue Heron Farm, died on Aug. 26 after a long illness, but her friends and family came together in the spirit of the work that she did for her community and the person she was.
Ostfeld moved her family and their farm to Lodi, NY, from Rochester in 1986. The farm has been certified organic since 1987 and has continued to provide local, organic produce to the area for 30 years. The farm has become a staple of the Ithaca’s Farmer’s Market and GreenStar Natural Foods Market.
At the memorial, family and friends conjured a clear picture of the type of person that Ostfeld was: a caring mother, an “insatiable reader” and an expert farmer and gardener. In particular her siblings, Barbara and Rick Ostfeld, as well as friend, Zachary Kaplan Moss, recounted what made living and working with Ostfeld so endearing.
Her brother Rick Ostfeld remembered how much she loved nature and the environment that surrounded her in the Finger Lakes area. As a farmer she raised crop after crop of produce for her community and helped bring fully organic practices to the area.
Barbara Ostfeld, her sister, also explained how “[Robin] was also a gardener of people, raising a family and watching over and tending to it with care.” Her relatives noted that, despite the loss of a child early in life, she never stopped growing her family, embracing not only blood relatives but also anyone she met with her warm infectious attitude and friendly personality.
Rick Ostfeld recalled her curiosity and passion for reading that could put any other self-proclaimed true lover of books to shame.
“She always had a book on hand, fiction, mystery or anything she could get her hands on,” he said.
The service also contained various musical accompaniments, in particular the Monty Python “Lumberjack Song,” which Barbara Ostfeld recalled was a favorite of her sister’s for playing practical jokes on others.
Zachary Kaplan Moss reminisced about what Ostfeld meant to him and to her family, noting, “Death is sudden and we’re not prepared for it, but we need to remember all that [Robin] meant to us. What we will remember about her is the impact she left behind. She will be missed.”
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