Community rallies to rebuild burned dairy following fire | Vts Community News

Community support is needed to help local dairy farm Keswick Creamery after a devastating fire destroyed a barn last week.

An early morning electrical fire burned the Keswick Creamery milking parlor, milk house and cheese plant in Newburg last Tuesday.

The family expressed gratitude to responding to local fire companies who showed up to immediately knock it down quickly and contain the flames to one building.

For years, the Creamery has been a steady presence in the local foods community, bringing fresh dairy products to customers with pride.

Keswick Creamery is now on the long road to recovery and seeking donations to rebuild what was lost.

As the previous barn was a retrofit of an existing barn, the new building will require new regulations, and while the owners have insurance, it does not cover the “staggering” cost of the required complete rebuild, she said.

The local community has truly banded together in a local dairy’s time of need, according to Keswick Creamery Co-owner Melanie Dietrich Cochran.

A Go Fund Me page was created to help and donations will go toward a new milking parlor and milk house, a new cheese plant, and all associated equipment including milk tanks, pasterizers, and cheese holders.

The fire has been a testament to community togetherness, Cochran noted.

“You name it, the community has come through for us,”

Near and far, supporters flocked to the farm in support, including the creamery’s farmers market network in Washington DC, she said.

“To know people are out there wishing us well means the world to us,” she said.

Keswick Creamery includes 24 milking cows, 17 horses and 20 young cows.

A brigade of bucket milkers appeared before the farm shortly after the fire to keep the cows milked, and soon Nice Farms Creamery, LLC stepped in to act as a temporary home for the bovines.

“We have always loved the Cumberland Valley area and the appreciation they have shown has really helped lift us up,” she said.

The room the fire was contained to was a room that housed essential farm equipment that was all burned to rubble, including compressor controls and a pressure tank, she said.

Priest’s Refrigeration, Inc. rewired an aging room, and ensured the compressors were operational before setting it up to be hooked into the new electric lines.

Funk’s Drilling and Water Treatment Inc., hit the farm quickly with equipment and a pressure tank to dig new water lines from the well and put a well housing in the ground with well controls and a pressure tank.

Using a generator, they had water flowing by Tuesday night and by Friday afternoon, new water lines reached the house, horse barn and remaining cow barn.

Next Level Electric LLC installed two new poles and ran electric lines underground to the well and the aging rooms. By Tuesday night the electricity was back on in the farmhouse and by Friday the well pump and aging rooms were off the generators, as good as new.

Our livelihood was destroyed in the fire and these local businesses were on site to help us save what was left and return us to a semblance of normalcy. Sometimes ‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem to be enough,” she said.

The Creamery eagerly looks forward to the return of their cow friends for their daily milking routine and getting the creamery fully up and running again.

A GoFundMe page to address rebuilding costs was established by family friend Sharon Perrone with a goal of $100,000.

To view the GoFundMe, visit: https://gf.me/v/c/rhr/rebuild-keswick-creamery.

Donations can also be made by Venmo @KeswickCreamery with the note “Rebuild” or by mailing a check to Melanie Dietrich Cochran, 114 Lesher Rd. Newburgh PA, 17240.

A fire fund has also been established at Orrstown Bank, where checks can be made out to “Melanie Dietrich Cohran” with “Fire Fund” in the momo.

Volunteers are also expected to be called upon once demolition and removal of the rubble gets underway.

Those wishing to donate their time can help with reconstruction projects foreseen in the coming weeks.

More information can be found at the Keswick Creamery Facebook Page and https://keswickcreamery.com.

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