Popular Castro Farmers Market vendor killed in highway collision

A popular vendor at the Castro Farmers Market has been killed in a highway collision. 

Stockton-based farmer Ly Thao Nyia Yi lost his life on Saturday afternoon when his box truck collided with a big-rig that overturned on eastbound state Highway 92, east of the San Mateo Bridge, SFGate reported.

"He was on his way to pick up his wife, who was selling vegetables at the Union City Farmers Market," Ly's son, Ly King Nyia Yi, wrote on a GoFundMe page he set up to help cover the family's expenses.

From there, the couple were supposed to come home. "My dad never made it," he wrote.

Ly Thao Nyia Yi (left) with family members on his farm. | Photo: Nyia Yi Farms/Facebook

Ly operated Nyia Yi Farms in Stockton, which grows 150 varieties of Asian and American vegetables, including herbs and 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. In addition to the Castro market, he was a fixture at the San Mateo and Bay Meadows farmers markets. 

"Farmer Ly was an incredibly kind soul, greeting every person with a smile and cheering up cranky toddlers with cool cucumbers," said Hoodline tipster Emily R., who alerted us to his passing. "He will be truly missed."

The Ly family's GoFundMe campaign is aiming to raise $25,000; as of this writing, 83 people have donated a total of $4,880. Many of the donors are Castro Farmers Market customers, who've left notes in remembrance of Ly's warm nature and friendly smile. 

King Ly noted that his father's pure heart touched everyone he met. "His smiles and laughter will be missed forever." 

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