Community works to help Pete's Greens recover from fire
Courtesy: Pete's Greens
Craftsbury, Vermont - January 20, 2011
Pete's Greens in Craftsbury suffered a massive fire last week that destroyed their main barn and caused more than half a million dollars in damage. The farm plans to rebuild and it's getting plenty of support from the public.
The fire that destroyed the main storage and processing barn at Pete's Greens put one of the state's largest vegetable producers out of commission. But the local community is helping bring the farm back.
"This overwhelming sentiment that came up that we had to do something to support it," said Clem Nilan of City Market Co-op in Burlington.
Beginning Thursday, City Market will donate 1 percent of the store's proceeds to Pete's Greens until Sunday, which organizers believe will bring in at least $3,000 for the fallen farm. They say its comeback is just as vital to them.
"He was a really important supplier to us. About $30,000 a year of product we bought from Pete's," Nilan said.
While City Market is supporting Pete's Greens in getting them back on their feet and helping them rebuild, they've had to find other options to help Vermonters fill the void of organic produce.
"It will be coming from places like California and Florida and moving up the coast," Nilan said.
Areas of the U.S. that can grow greens outside all year long.
"Our money will go out of state, and people who are looking to support local, they aren't going to have access to that," Nilan said.
"The freshness isn't there," said Sarah Heusner, a localvore. "It's not. I noticed the Pete's stuff has a longer shelf life in my refrigerator than the California stuff does."
And at restaurants, about 30 percent of the Vermont Fresh Network's chefs utilized Pete's Greens as the sole provider of produce. Until Pete's is back in business, eateries like the Skinny Pancake have to move forward with other resources.
"The show must go on, yeah," said Benjy Adler of the Skinny Pancake. "They'll be back at it. They are very innovative, energetic people. So the show will go on for them too."
Now Pete's Greens was also under-insured, which is why there's also been such an outpouring of support.
There's also an online auction to be held in two days called "Bid for the Barn" organized by the Mad River Valley Localvore Project. On the website there's a countdown. Some of the auction items you can bid for include restaurant gift certificates, fine jewelry, a pound of coffee a week for 26 weeks and cooking classes. Click here for more.