By DON STINE
Laurie Price, operator of Laurie’s Country Farm Market in Neptune, was remembered by friends this week for her loving and giving nature.
Price, who lived in Neptune, died unexpectedly Fri., Aug. 8 at her home. She was 54 years old.
Price was born in Sea Girt but lived most of her life in Neptune, where she opened her market on Atkins Avenue seven years ago after working in the restaurant business for many years.
Dianne Fitzpatrick, who is a long-time friend and has been helping out at the farm market since it opened, said Price will be missed by many people.
“She is going to be really missed. She was good people and this market was her passion and her longtime dream. People have just been coming is and expressing their shock and disbelief at what happened,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said that Price always wanted to be able to bring good, fresh food to the public and be as organic as she possibly could.
“Plus, the market changed this neighborhood and made it more friendly and accessible than it was before,” said Fitzpatrick, who lives right across the street.
“Laurie worked really hard to create this. It was not about money but about serving people with and educating them about good, nutritious food,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said that the market has been open so far this week but after Price’s funeral Aug. 13, things are “up in the air” about its future.
“We will be closed during her funeral and the future of the market remains very much up in the air. I would hope that, in her memory, we can continue with the market and pay tribute to an amazing woman,” she said.
“This was not just a place to get food but to get educated. People walking into the market feel the spirit of the place,” she said.
Price, who also loved animals, would give unsold produce to St. James Church in Bradley Beach, which operates a food bank.
Fitzpatrick said the farm market offers pumpkins in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter and was planning to build its own greenhouse to grow produce and seeds.
Fitzpatrick’s niece, Tara Ferguson, has also been working at the market for two years.
“This has just been a terrible couple of days; nobody saw this coming. Our customers are devastated but it is a blessing to see how one person can be loved that much by her community,” she said.
Ferguson said Price had the most beautiful soul of any person she has ever known.
“She was giving, kind-spirited and caring- she cared about everybody. It’s like I have lost a family member and my best friend,” she said.
Ferguson said she hopes the market can remain open and be run the way Price would want it to be run.
“Which is to give the community the best produce and nutrition. Now it is a place where people come to mourn together as a community and we will get through it. The market is like a second home for many people,” she said.
“We will take a few days to mourn and open back up. A running market is better than a closed market and that is the way Laurie would have wanted it. This market was her passion,” she said.
Price was predeceased by her parents Anne and Winfield Scott Price and her brother Scott Price. Surviving are her beloved sisters Leanne Price of Sea Girt; Caron Price of Lake Como; her loving chocolate lab, Guinness; and many loving relatives and friends.
Donations may be made in her name to: Rescue Ridge, P. O. Box 223 Spring Lake, NJ 07762 or online at www.rescueridge.com.
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