A market trader in Rye said he ‘will miss the banter and friendliness’ in the town as he said goodbye after 19 years.
Steve Moore, who had been running the fruit and vegetable stall, left for the final time on Thursday (October 4).
He will now set off to Chile where he will semi-retire and run his own raspberry farm where he plans to grow some maqui berries.
As he took his final bow, Steve said: “Rye is a very friendly place with a strong community spirit and I will miss the banter and friendliness.”
Steve was born in Northampton and spent much of his childhood in West Germany, with German being his first language.
Living in Wuppertal taught him to value the Germanic love of order and this influenced him in
his business ventures as he grew up.
He moved to England with his family and settled in Folkestone where Steve attended the local school but left without qualifications
He said: “I wasn’t fond of school – in fact it felt like a prison to me.
“I liked to be free and making a few bob.”
For 19 years, Steve – who has ten children, in New Zealand, Chile and England – has been getting up at 1.30am and became a well-known figure at the New Covent Garden Market, where he has been purchasing produce for the last 40 years.
His father owned a couple of shops and established himself as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. It was through his father that Steve was introduced to the art of buying, selling and making a healthy profit.
He said he was mostly self-taught and learned a great deal by watching people who were good at it.
Steve’s first stall was in the Sunday market at Folkestone and then he moved to Brick Lane which he ran for seven years. With his family’s help he branched out and set up stalls in Tonbridge, Ashford, Whitstable, Canterbury and Faversham’s markets during the week.
Customer Carol Cummings, from Hythe, said: “You don’t get a market like this where the fruit and vegetables last so well. We shall miss him greatly.”
Steve has sold the business and new owners – Peter and his son Bradley – are carrying on the tradition of fruit and vegetable at Rye Market as Steve settles them in.