Produce from deceased farmer to be sold Saturday in Janesville

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Frank Schultz
Friday, December 1, 2017

JANESVILLEA young Rock County farmer died in a traffic accident Nov. 16.

Saturday, the Janesville Farmers Market will sell her potatoes and pie pumpkins, as Melissa Whitten intended to do.

The Edgerton High School graduate and her husband, Ethan Whitten, had dreamed of having their own farm, and they accomplished that in the past year or two, said Emily Arthur, farmers market manager.

Melissa, 27, was pregnant when she decided to dedicate herself full time to producing vegetables for the farmers market, Arthur said. She gave birth this June to Vanessa.

Melissa took two weeks off for the birth and then was back at the weekly market in downtown Janesville, Vanessa at her side, Arthur said.

“Melissa quickly became a favorite at the summer market, along with her newborn daughter, Vanessa, always doing all she could to make each customer smile,” Arthur said.

Melissa had signed up to sell her produce at the once-a-month winter farmers market.

After her death, a friend of the family approached the market’s board with a request to sell the remaining vegetables she had grown, according to a farmers market news release.

The board offered to pick up the vegetables and sell them at the winter market, with proceeds going to her daughter.

Visitors to the market Saturday also will be able to make a donation to Whitten’s family.

“While nothing will take away the pain of losing Melissa, the manager and board have embraced this opportunity to honor her by selling the vegetables that she worked hard to grow for our market,” board member Stephanie Aegerter said.

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