Willey Farms gets ready for comeback

TOWNSEND — There’s still plenty to rebuild before Willey Farms returns to full capacity.

Progress is evident, though.

Construction equipment and hard hat-wearing workers moved throughout the property on U.S. 13 on Monday afternoon, continuing the landmark produce market and gift shop’s recovery from a Nov. 4, 2018, fire that incinerated the main building and its contents.

The garden center and greenhouse is scheduled to reopen April 12, though, with a variety of flowers, annuals and plants available in a variety of sizes.

Business hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Updates are available on the Willey Farms Facebook page, willeyfarmsde.com online or by calling 378-8441.

More information will be released shortly, marketing coordinator Donna Cavender said Monday.

The spring reopening follows last Christmas when wreaths, garlands, firewood and trees were available for the holidays. Also available then were gallons of apple cider, along with chocolate-covered almonds.

Motorists traveling past on the highway tooted their horns for support and several fundraisers arose in Townsend, Middletown, Odessa and Smyrna to support staff who suddenly lost employment — roughly 60 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers.

The shocking overnight fire was first spotted around 2 a.m. by a police officer passing by. Townsend Fire Company trucks arrived on the scene at 4092 Dupont Parkway and saw flames shooting from the building.

Several other fire companies and first responders arrived and remained for hours while assisting. A stretch of the highway was closed at the same time for safety reasons.

No injuries were reported.

The first vegetables from the family farm were sold in 1975 and the business grew steadily from there.

On Monday Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio said the origin and cause of the blaze had not yet been determined.

Officials earlier said findings would be announced publicly when available.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Baltimore field division joined the probe as is standard procedure for such a substantial loss.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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