Patrick and Tammy Winter have always considered the Red Barn Farm, their beloved family-run business in Northfield, to be a canvas.
After the tornadoes of fall 2018, they were devastated to find trees and parts of buildings scattered across their 10 acres. The damages were so severe that they couldn’t walk 10 feet without having to climb around debris.
“We had a blank canvas again,” said Patrick Winter.
It was a long winter for the couple as they waited to clean up what the storm had made of their once picturesque farm, a spot that hosts public pizza nights and weddings just outside of Northfield.
When spring arrived, the Winters set to work rebuilding the farm, including the barn, but they didn’t work alone.
What Patrick Winter said should have taken a year was done in three months with the help of the community. Some were customers who have enjoyed their pizza, while others were plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople. Aside from lending a hand, the community donated thousands to help rebuild Red Barn Farm.
“It’s rewarding to realize you have a lot of people who have your back,” Tammy Winter said. “We are thankful for the community and how they helped us and we’re excited to give back to the community.”
While Tammy Winter said it was difficult to see the old barn fall along with the memories it held, she and her husband took their second chance and repainted their canvas.
“We took the lemons and made lemonade,” Patrick Winter said.
Just eight months after the storm, there is a new barn where the old one once stood.
The Winters began their “repainting” by adding tall ash and maple trees to bring in more fall colors to complement their new barn.
“The old barn was gorgeous,” said Patrick Winter, “but it was too dry or too cold.”
The old barn was built for drying hay, but the new barn was built to accommodate guests, especially wedding receptions. What used to be a hayloft is now two separate dressing rooms for the bride’s party and the groom’s party, and tables crafted from wood are wider so brides can have more flexibility with centerpieces.
Some amenities were also added to make the barn more comfortable. The new barn now has controlled heating and cooling, floor heating and more restrooms.
Though they have a bit of fine tuning to do in the fall, Patrick Winter said “everything is ready to go.”
Weddings at the Red Barn Farm this year begin in July. By the end of the summer, the Winters will have hosted approximately 30 weddings, including the wedding of their daughter, Hannah Winter.
Even though they haven’t hosted any weddings yet, they are already holding their popular pizza night. They say they go through 10,000 pizzas each season.
The old barn isn’t completely lost though.
“We saved as much as we could of the old barn wood,” Patrick Winter said. “It’s a memory of the old barn.”
The wood salvaged from the old barn is now part of the entryway of the new barn, and so is part of the new picture they painted of the Red Barn Farm.