It is with great sadness that we share with you the loss of Kateri Damato, a friend to many and a much-loved member of our team. She passed on Sunday, April 22, surrounded by her friends and family.
Kateri began working in our farm kitchen in 2014. Despite her love of cooking, though, she could not deny “wanting to get her hands back in the soil”. So, in 2016, she moved from the kitchen to our greenhouses and field to become a “flower farmer”. Kateri worked hard to keep our flower fields looking their best and brought joy to over 100 wedding parties and so many other customers, CSA members, and friends of the farm.
Kateri was happy to share her passion and knowledge for growing plants and she always filled the greenhouse with music and laughter.
A big smile came across Kateri’s face every time a group of children approached her in the greenhouse or flower fields. No matter how busy, or how much work had to be done, Kateri always shared her time and space with them. Summer Camp groups especially loved Kateri because, oftentimes, when they would come to say “hello” to her, she would already have something she had found earlier that day that she saved to share with the kids. Maybe it was a praying mantis nest, or a mummified aphid, or a chrysalis. Whenever she came across items like these, she would save and share them with immense enthusiasm with any child who came to see her.
Kateri had that same level of enthusiasm when children brought their discoveries to her. She listened intently while kids shared their findings from the greenhouse and flower garden, making sure each one knew how special their observations were.
Kateri held dearly the farm’s educational mission and made it part of her daily work. It wasn’t the just the kids she took time with––if she saw anyone investigating in the greenhouse or flower fields, she stopped to help, to share this place she loved so much.
And we love her for those very reasons. Kateri took an interest in people. She got to know them and let them get to know her. She was as genuine as leather and just as tough. She worked joyfully in the hot greenhouses and out in the soil almost every day. And this grit was on true display as she battled with cancer. She fought with determination and spirit, just like she did everything else in her life. We will miss her every day of this season and for many, many seasons to come.
If you would like to offer your support to her husband Darren and the rest of her family, you can do so here. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.