At the wonderful memorial service for Skip Harvey this past Saturday, the attendees were given a four page memorial statement with some great photos and reminiscences about the high points of Skip’s life. One of the things mentioned was how Skip was a driving force behind creating the Main Street Farmer’s Market.
How true that is. Skip asked Kathleen and I to become involved when Skip wanted to expand the market beyond the room that he had in front of Basecamp. After that, we attended meetings which Skip arranged and led with town government officials, a farmer’s group in Bishop, Sandra DiDomizio (the event planner), Main Street merchants, town employees who would handle the road closure, and lots of others who would help the farmer’s market become a reality on Main Street. Without all the effort that Skip put in, the Wednesday farmer’s market would never have gotten to first base.
Besides being a real tourist attraction, Skip knew that the market would be just as fun and important to locals as it is for out-of-towners. The market is a place to buy fresh veggies, craft items, cookies, karmel korn, organic coffee, you name it; whatever people like and enjoy while living the good Mammoth lifestyle outdoors in perfect weather (the only kind we have!).
Skip was tireless in advocating the market, even when he knew damn well that his health was failing, and he had to push himself just to come and make the arrangements for the farmers, or the road closure, or all the other things that must be done that he was used to doing, come rain or shine.
The simple fact is that Skip devoted much of his life to Mammoth Lakes and, after the memorial service, we were glad to see that many people in Mammoth were aware of that and appreciated it.
It is also a well-known fact that some of those in positions of responsibility thought that Skip’s faith in integrity and fairness made his views “impractical” and overly idealistic. With the clarity of hindsight, we can now see that if Skip’s approach were taken more seriously a decade ago, we might not be in the mess we are in today.
It’s a shame that Skip’s legacy has to be what he stood for alone instead of what our town stands for together. Given the tower of strength that Skip was and the significance of his beliefs and his leadership, our contribution to that legacy will seem puny and unimportant, but we are proud to say that our dedication of the former farmer’s market to Skip’s memory is not a one-time event, but rather a permanent change.
We have no idea how long we’ll be able to keep the market going or whether it will become a permanent fixture in Mammoth, but, for as long as we can manage to keep the operation going, the former Main Street Farmer’s Market will henceforth be known simply as “Skip’s Market.”
We hope that you will come out and enjoy Skip’s Market, especially with the knowledge that each time you stop by and say hello, you are enjoying a very small part of what Skip contributed to our town.
Paul and Kathleen Rudder
Market, especially with the knowledge that each time you stop by and say hello, you are enjoying a