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Verrill Farms store lost to fire

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A Saturday afternoon fire has destroyed the farm stand store at Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Road, Concord.

Firefighters from at least six departments responded to the blaze that engulfed the roof of the farm stand, a landmark in Concord for those looking for locally grown food, prepared meals, and deli produce.

Candace McDonnell, a deli employee, said the fire started above the deli.

She said a fellow employee, Mario Fingers, tried to extinguish the flame with a fire extinguisher.

“Poor Mario, he tried,” McDonnell said. “He was so brave. Balls of fire just kept on coming down on him.”

McDonnel said that when the fire just kept getting worse, everyone evacuated the building.

“We just watched it burn,” she said.

Reports from the scene indicate employees and customers got out safely and there are no injuries to report.

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  1. Just got this news and came here to report. Quite a loss for all.

    1. How awful! If they set up a temporary location or sell through another outlet and any CHers know the details, please keep us updated. Haven't been in a year and was planning on going there tomorrow for their huge variety of heirloom tomatoes.

      1. How sad. I know the farm community will support them any way they can and I'm sure all the customers who have enjoyed their quality and hospitality will also be there to help in whatever way they can.

        My sympathy to the family and staff and it's good than no one was hurt.

        1. I just saw the story on the news. What a wonderful place and how very sad. I hope they get back up and running. My thoughts to everyone from VF.

          1. How horrible. Thanks for letting us know, capeanne. My mother is visiting from CA next week, and we were planning our annual country eating tour: clams and onion rings at Dairy Joy, ice cream at Kimball's, and Verrill Farms to pick up corn and tomatoes for dinner. I'm glad we didn't find out when driving up. I hope for their sake and ours they find another way to sell retail, but maybe it's too late in the season and they'll wait until next year. I hope anyone with further news will post.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pollystyrene

              Should have credited the new story It was on web from Wicked Local

            2. Best wishes to Steve and his family. Such a great landmark lost. So sad to hear the news.

              I hope for a speedy rebuild!

              1. Was there yesterday morning. This hurts, but trying to look at the bright side, no one was hurt and it was only a building. The farm itself survives and hopefully they'll be able to set up an alternate location

                1. Terrible news. But as others have said, at least no one was hurt.

                  Hopefully they'll rebuild. I'll miss it in the meantime, as I love going there, especially in the fall.

                  Here's an article on the fire, with pictures:

                  http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/ne...

                  1. I saw all the fire trucks whizzing through town yesterday and thought "uh-oh". So glad no one was hurt - that place is always jammed on a Saturday afternoon. I go there every Sunday - what a loss of such a great stand. Hopefully they'll get all the insurance stuff sorted out quickly and be able to put all this behind them.

                    1. So sad, I agree a significant loss. I wish them fortitude in rebuilding quickly and as nice as before. My guess is they will have a produce stand up within the week!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I certainly hope so! I only recently started going to Verrill and if they don't rebuild I may have serious withdrawl.

                      2. I drove past it this morning to pay my respects, and the contrast of the luscious fields of crops that have been owned by the family for 90 years and the charred shell of the stand could not have been more stark. It tears me up to think of all of their carefully grown and prepared foods going up in smoke. I think it goes without saying that in today's economy, small scale farmers have enough challenges without their property spontaneously bursting into flames. Good luck, Verrill.

                        www.teaandfood.blogspot.com

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Aaron Kagan

                          There is some good news this morning--the folks who run Verrill Farms will soon be putting up a temporary farm stand so they can remain open while they work on rebuilding.

                        2. I'm a regular at Verrill, there at least twice a week but generally more. I can only hope they get their temp stand up and running; they've got end-of-season produce coming in the from their fields, after all. What a loss, but it sounds like Steve Verrill has it under control.

                          1. UPDATE:

                            They are setting up a makeshift stand nearby and opening it later today.

                            http://verrillfarm.wordpress.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mjg0725

                              Hooray! Thanks for the good news, HB and mjg. I'm impressed with how quickly they pulled something together to sell the fall"s golden goods.

                            2. I stopped in today, thinking I was going to pay my respects. Boy was I wrong! They're already tearing down the old building and they have a full and vibrant farmstand set up under a tent. Cash or check only, as they only have an electrical connection. But they had lots of apples, corn, squash, eggplant, greens, tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, and a whole lot more. No peaches, or those fabulous plums they had last week, but, hey, it's only been 3 days!

                              I am so impressed with these folks.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                                I stopped by today too. Took a road trip to offer support. Got some beautiful celery root and tomatoes and some small pumpkins to put on my Dad's grave for his birthday. They are gearing up to continue with their bbq plans. Love this farm and have always wished it were closer! Lucky to have Ward's Berry Farm nearby, but Verrill's really has it going on. Timing stinks, but good is already coming from this fire with a spirit of community.

                                1. re: gyppielou

                                  Stopped by Verrill's yesterday. Was ankle deep in mud, but got some of the great cherry tomatos, some peppers and some great kale. Sad to see the state of the building, but was great to see them continue on despite the problem.

                              2. There was a wonderful story in the Globe today about how the community has come out to support Verrill Farm in their effort to feed their workers.

                                It also mentions that some of the baked goods are reappearing from an offsite kitchen.

                                http://www.boston.com/news/local/mass...

                                1. Just saw that The Beacon Hill Bistro is doing a special Autumn Harvest Dinner and donating a percentage of proceeds to the Verrill Farmstand Fund.

                                  October 13, 2008 - two seatings at 6:00PM and 8:30PM. $60 per person with optional wine pairings at $25.