It’s been almost two weeks since the fire and we have experienced overwhelming support in response to our loss. We are making arrangements to clean up the site beginning next week, still needing to obtain some permits and get metal recycling containers delivered. Our two friends, Bob Lesnikowski and Ben Canonica have graciously offered their excavators to start the clean-up process. Driving up to the site two weeks later, it’s bizarre not seeing the big barn there when I fully expect to see it. We miss the barn as do many of you who have stories of buying hay from Everett Andrews or attending the first Richmond Farmers Market run by his wife Mary Jo.
The clean up and rebuilding process will require a major effort, from sorting through the wreckage, to sourcing equipment for our vegetable operation and poultry processing unit, not to mention designing a barn! Plans are underway for the new facility, and lots of ideas for meeting farm needs and the needs of our community have been given voice.
We thank all of you who have hit “Donate” on our website or sent in a check. Your support has inspired us to forge ahead. Given the response and the task ahead, we’re finding it impossible to thank all of you personally (at least within the next few weeks). Please know that we’re thinking of you and your generous contributions have been a huge help as we figure out our next steps.
Our first fundraiser was a wonderful success, thanks to the many volunteers of the Friday Food Affair at the Richmond Congregational Church. Over 150 folks came to eat good food and show their support in many ways - buying raffle tickets, dropping cash into a donation bucket or just a smile and hug. We never tire of feeling the warmth and commitment of our community.
Sunday January 26, Lara and Steve Atkins, owners of the Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond are donating $5 from every bottle of wine sold at their Casual Supper Night.
Tuesday, January 28th Barn Fire Fundraising Dinner at the Hinesburgh Public House. Hosted by our friends at Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg and the HPH. Buffet dinner. Min donation $25. Cash bar for drinks. Live music all night. Reservations please- filling up fast! 5-9pm Call: 802-482-5500802-482-5500802-482-5500802-482-5500. Raffle for photo by Jared Katz of the weather vane on top of the barn (and other items!)
We will be a vendor at the 2014 Vermont Farm Show’s Buy Local Night, Wednesday January 29th. Stop by and say hi and get a free taste of some of our products. Consumer Night 4-7pm. Blue Ribbon Pavillion at the Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex, VT. Free event.
Saturday February 1. Vermont Fresh Network Farmers Dinner at Juniper of Hotel Vermont, Burlington. This is not a fundraiser for the barn but an opportunity to support a local restaurant that supports Maple Wind Farm. Chef Doug Paine will cook up a 4 course meal including Maple Wind Farm beef shorts ribs, chicken bites and charcutrie on the menu! Call for reservations: 802-651-0080
Community Night at Bluebird BBQ, Riverside Dr Burlington. Date TBA. (most likely Wednesday Feb 12). 10% of all proceeds from diners there in support of Maple Wind Farm will be donated to the barn fund.
BBQ Beef Sticks at Healthy Living Market. All proceeds from sales of first 100 Maple Wind Farm no nitrate BBQ beef sticks at the checkout counters will be donated back to the barn fund.
More in the works, stay tuned! Please let us know if you have ideas or other ways you would like to contribute. We are keeping a list of helping hands, equipment and materials!
Thanks again for all your support!
Beth and Bruce and the entire farm crew!
After the Barn Fire Fundraiser Dinner with Live Music-- Tues, Jan 28 at Hinesburgh Public House
To help with the Monday, Jan 13 loss of our 12,000 sq. ft. Andrews Barn in Richmond, storage crops and poultry processing equipment, our friends at Full Moon Farm and Hinesburgh Public House are generously hosting a 3-course benefit dinner from 5-9 PM, with live music throughout the evening. Minimum donation is $25 with additional donations welcome. For reservations call the Hinesburgh Public House at 802-482-5500, walk-ins are also welcome. See the Burlington Free Press article for additional details. We look forward to hopefully seeing you there!
Early Monday morning, January 13, 2014 our barn and tractor shed at the old Andrews Farm on Route 2 in Richmond burned to the ground. The first emergency call came in at 5 AM to the Richmond, Huntington, Underhill, Jericho, and Bolton fire departments, but by 6:30 AM the barn was a complete loss, leaving firefighters with the task of controlling damage to nearby properties. We were up and doing chores at the home farm in Huntington and didn’t get the initial call from our Richmond neighbors. Our friend Josh, who lives on the farm, had to find us outside to give us the news after he heard it on the radio.
Cause of the Fire Undetermined – No Animals or People Hurt
The cause of the fire is undetermined at this point, but we speculate that flooding from the weekend rains had overwhelmed our sump pump in the bottom floor of the barn resulting in water infiltrating our electric system. Truth is we’ll never know for sure. The good news is that no animals or people were hurt or injured and no other properties were damaged. Many thanks to all the volunteer firefighters for their valiant effort and selfless service.
Structures, Storage Crops & Equipment Lost - Woefully Underinsured
As many of you know, Maple Wind Farm had just taken ownership of the Andrews Farm in June of 2013. Through that process we obtained insurance for our buildings there, which was based on the assessed value of the barn and property. As we sort through what we’ve lost - all our vegetable cooling capacity, meat freezers, poultry processing and production equipment, vegetable production and washing tools and equipment, scales, computers; bathroom, office and retail facilities; well water infrastructure and vacuum pumps, and, of course, storage space - we’ve come to the realization that we’re woefully underinsured based on what it would take to replace everything we’ve lost. This does not include the 10,000 lbs. of root vegetables and some of our frozen chickens and turkeys that were stored in the barn.
Poultry Processing Unit Still Intact
The new "plant in a box" we invested in last summer was still standing when we inspected the fire damage. We could see only scald damage to some of the exterior walls, melted AC and heater units, and melted vacuum and compressor lines leading to the facility. What remains undetermined until we operate the unit, is what kind, if any, electrical or water damage was caused with the walls by the high heat -- we are hopeful that we'll be up and running for our first chickens in June!
An Emotional Day
It was an emotional day on Monday. Shortly after we arrived on the scene, messages of sorrow and support started rolling in. The response by our community of friends, farmers, customers, and our local and state officials has been inspiring and overwhelming, a testament to our extraordinary, caring and committed community here in Vermont. More than the loss of property, it was the expressions of support that prompted our tears. Each of you has asked the question: “How can I help?”
How You Can Help
As a group, Vermont farmers are pretty self-reliant, and we’re no different. We’re extremely uncomfortable asking for assistance, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without all kinds of help from all of you over the years. The truth is we need the help, and we’re asking for whatever you’re willing to provide. Here’s how to help:
after the Richmond Barn Fire
If you prefer to contribute by check, please send checks to Maple Wind Farm, in Memo: Farm Barn Fund, 1340 Carse Road, Huntington, VT 05462.
If you can help with any of the following, please contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Donate Building Materials
-Donate Clean Up and Building Services
-Fundraising Event Development and Coordination
Still Selling Frozen Meats
Fortunately we have off- site freezer storage in Williston and at home in Huntington so we still have plenty of 100% grass-fed and finished beef, pastured-raised pork, and frozen chickens to sell that can be ordered online, at the Burlington Winter Farmers Market (next one is this Sat Jan 18th) or purchased at our Huntington farm. We are always looking for additional markets and restaurants to supply with our pastured meats so please spread the word!
Raising More Veggies & Poultry in the Spring
Though some of our vegetable seed was lost in the fire, this spring we will certainly be seeding vegetable trays in our greenhouse which is located in Bolton, along with deciding on where our brooder will be set up for our first batch of pasture-raised chickens. Production will continue “as usual” at Maple Wind Farm, while we push forward to rebuild and re-equip our chicken brooding, storage and distribution barn in Richmond.
Maple Wind Not the Only Business Affected-- Vermont Edible Landscapes also Takes a Hit
Our friend Meghan Giroux, owner of Vermont Edible Landscapes, leases property and had used the Andrews Barn, also suffered loss of property and a place to hold her workshops this spring. She is planning to carry forward with her plans to erect a greenhouse on our land to grow her plants and spread her wealth of knowledge to the community. Thanks for hanging in there Meghan!
We will keep you posted on our progress, stay tuned to our website and Facebook.
With our sincerest thanks,
Bruce, Beth, Bryn and David
The Andrews Farm in Richmond, home of our vegetable and poultry processing facility, burned to the ground early Monday Jan. 13th.
Please see the details and ways you can help on our blog .
Read about the fire in the Burlington Free Press article: Fire leaves iconic Richmond barn a complete loss