Pete Johnson spent Thursday haying his farm fields. He's also a vegetable grower and he's looking forward to a successful season.
That may surprise some people after fire destroyed his Craftsbury business-- Pete's Greens-- five months ago.
"It's definitely changed things but it's, I don't know, you deal with reality pretty fast and you move forward. There's lots of people that work here so it's important to keep jobs going and to adjust quickly," Johnson said.
"It allowed us to think outside of the box and build something we really needed to build," said Amy Skelton, the manager at Pete's Greens.
Their old barn was reduced to a pile of debris. The business was underinsured. But with help from the community and loans Pete's Greens' new barn is well on its way to being finished.
"I didn't think it would be this fast," Skelton said. "Pete said it would be this fast and it was hard to believe."
The new barn is 16,000 square feet-- that's double the size of the barn that burned.
So what's going to happen to the old spot? One idea is to make recreational courts for the community.
Reporter Gina Bullard: This is also different because we're right in the thick of it.
Amy Skelton: We are right in our growing fields. So it's coming directly here-- no rumbling down our farm roads.
Despite generous donations from the public, this new, big barn brings big debt-- something new to Pete's. The price tag on the barn-- about $1 million.
"We had some insurance; about $300,000. We received lots of donations and we've taken out $600,000 in loans. That's how you get there," Johnson said.
The organic vegetable farm is already harvesting.
"We expect to wash vegetables in 3 weeks time," Skelton said.
And they hope to be fully moved into the new space by fall.
"It's pretty much happened just as we thought," Johnson said.
Pete's Greens has sold 260 CSA farm shares so far this summer.
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