Earlier this month, a fire reduced a historic barn on Whidbey Island to ashes, and it threatens to take down the livelihood of one of the area’s most beloved farmers with it.
“The Smith Barn was an integral part of Georgie Smith’s Willowood Farm. It has been in the Smith family for more than a century and was one of Ebey Prairie’s most recognizable and photographed landmarks,” reports the Whidbey News Times.
In addition to being a local icon, the barn was an important part of Smith’s operation. A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway to help raise money for its restoration, with a goal of $400,000.
“At the time the barn burned down her critical seed growing was just underway, not to mention valuable equipment and the space needed to process, dry and store produce through the year,” the campaign’s site says. “Farmers are in a difficult position this time of year financially and it's the work from here to harvest that gets them by. This couldn't have happened at a worse time.”
Local restaurateurs are rallying to the cause, offering support for the farmer they respect and rely on for produce. Chef Derek Ronspies of Le Petit Cochon is hosting a benefit dinner on March 29 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $120 per person and include a five-course meal with drink pairings (tax and tip not included). For more information, including a menu, visit Le Petit Cochon’s official site.
Know of other benefit events for Willowood Farm? Tell us in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.