LAKELAND, Fla. — Sandra Black wakes up early every morning to set up this fresh produce stand in front of her home.
“The works hard. He didn’t want me to have to lift the heavy boxes and stuff,” Black said.
She recently took over the stand on David Street near Fitzgerald Road.
It first belonged to her husband Robert Lewis Black, who was affectionately known as “Veggie Man.” He ran the popular produce stand in south Lakeland for 15 years.
It’s known for having the best tomatoes in town. He loved his customers and they loved him back.
“The best produce hands down, you can't get anything like it anywhere any stores. He was right there convenient to so many of us and just a sweetheart we miss him dearly,” said Kim McGowan.
Black was killed in July when he was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a car on the corner of Cherry Lane and Tower Palms Lane. When his widow set up memorials at the site of the crash, they were mysteriously taken down.
“That’s where he drew his last breath and it just a part of your grieving process even. So, it was very hurtful they were taken,” said Black.
She eventually contacted the county and they have placed a Drive Safely sign which reads “In Memory of Robert Lewis Black.”
Black said she now has the sign, the produce stand, and his loyal customers to keep Veggie Man’s legacy alive.
“I’ve met some people that I really didn’t know, and they are just so sweet and so nice, and kind. And I really appreciate the people and the outpouring of love that they have given me,” she said.