For Plains Poinsettia Grower, A Final Christmas Crop

PLAINS TOWNSHIP — For decades families in part of Luzerne County have come to Marty O’Malia’s greenhouse to buy their holiday flowers.

Maria Egidio of Plains said, “I like coming here with my dad because it has been like a family tradition to get flowers from here, and whatever we need for the holidays.”

At Yuletide, Easter, and every holiday inbetween, the place blooms with color.

But this year along with “Thank you” And “Merry Christmas,” O’Malia, his wife, and family are also saying goodbye.

Marty grew up in the farmers’ markets and fields, following in his dad’s and granddad’s footsteps. The family started growing vegetables around 1900, and began with the flowers in the 1940s.

“I would just sit on my tractor, you look over the fields, see the bounty coming in, and it is an unbelievable sensation of pleasure,” said Marty.

This crop of poinsettias is his last.

Marty has stage four pancreatic cancer, and will close up shop on Christmas Eve.

“It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, there were a lot of tears,” said Marty.

He said he sells flowers to around 100 churches, and as he winds his business down he has arranged for other growers to provide for them.

Frank Egidio of Plains Township said, “I’ve lived in Plains all my life, it’s been here for all my life. Marty is a nice guy, always very pleasant, happy upbeat.”

As the days to Christmas fly by, Marty is taking in every moment. While the farewells can be bittersweet, the lifelong farmer is content knowing there is a time and season for everything.

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