End of an Era in Alexandria

Doris Cassedy, Dove family retire from Farmers Market.

For 40 years, Doris Dove Cassedy has been a fixture at the Old Town Farmers Market, carrying on a Dove family tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. On Dec. 21, 2019, that tradition came to an end as Cassedy spent her last day selling flowers in Market Square.

“It feels good,” said Cassedy, who added that she plans to spend more time quilting in her retirement.

Cassedy’s brother, Lenny Dove, has been coming to the Market for 59 years, rising in the pre-dawn hours to make the 90-minute drive from the family farm in Spotsylvania to Market Square.

“A lot has changed here in 59 years,” Dove said. “There are a lot more vendors but not as much of a selection as there used to be.”

City Manager Mark Jinks was on hand to congratulate Cassedy on her retirement, and Mark McHugh, aide to Mayor Justin Wilson, presented the family with a proclamation honoring their contributions to the Market.

Joining in the family tradition have been Cassedy’s daughter, Stacey Petit, and grandsons Robbie and Charlie Petit.

“We’ve made a lot of new friends over the years,” added Dove, who noted that the family also provided the flowers for many local weddings.

Cassedy and Dove’s great-grandfather, Will Kitson, began the family tradition as a vendor in Market Square in the late 1800s, which was reflected in the city proclamation that read in part:

“Whereas since the late 1800s to today, Dove family members and their forebears have managed this thriving business adjacent to City Hall’s front doors on Saturday mornings, selling their locally grown blooms, yarrow, zinnias, peonies, Queen Anne’s lace, and sunflowers … the City of Alexandria takes this moment to honor the Dove family and their late grandfather, Will Kitson, whose farm established in the late 19th century supplied flowers to the first iteration of this business.”

Cassedy’s regular customers stopped by to make a final purchase and to wish her well.

“For over 20 years, Doris and her family have brightened my Saturday mornings, not only with their beautiful flowers, but more importantly with their friendly greetings and kind words,” said longtime customer Cherie Carroll. “They will be surely be missed.”

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