The owners hope to know soon whether they can move forward with plans to rebuild
VICTOR — The Apple Farm owners who lost their main building to a fire last November are anxious for answers and to move forward with plans to rebuild.
Firefighters were unable to save the building after a fire broke out in the wee hours of Nov. 4.
The cause of the fire that destroyed The Apple Farm on Route 444 is still under investigation, Ontario County Sheriff’s Lt. Brad Falkey said.
“We are kind of in a holding pattern,” said Bejan Bahai, co-owner of the family-run business that includes orchards on about 80 acres. “We are not sure what insurance will pay out.” He said he hopes to know soon so they can move ahead.
In operation for more than 40 years, The Apple Farm has been a popular seasonal destination for its tourism and recreational offerings such as you-pick apples, petting zoo, hiking trails, disc golf and corn maze. The store and bakery that burned down offered fresh apples and a variety of apple products.
On Nov. 4, a passer-by smelled smoke in the area of the farm about 3:30 a.m. and called 911. Multiple fire departments responded to the blaze but were unable to save the building that was a total loss. No one was hurt and several goats, pigs, ducks and chickens in a fenced-in area connected to the burning building were safely rescued.
A GoFundMe page set up after the fire has raised more than $13,000 in the past three months to help the Bahai family rebuild. Meanwhile, The Apple Farm products are on shelves in an increasing number of Rochester-area stores, including the Rail Side Market and Cafe in Victor, Leo's Bakery and Deli in East Rochester and Hart’s Local Grocers in Rochester.
The Apple Farm has been operating out of a makeshift store, The Blue Toad cider trailer, next to its burned-down store at 1640 Route 444. The trailer is not open during routine hours and people are advised to call first, Bejan said.
“We are trying to do what we can with what we have,” he said.
Bejan added that he and his family are looking at short-term as well as long-term goals. One idea is to pursue renovation of an old barn on their property to be the new store. A survey on their Facebook page indicated that 70 percent of those who responded thought it was a great idea, he said. But until the insurance comes through, Bejan said the pile of charred rubble must remain and they’ll have to wait before making any decisions.
The Apple Farm website: http://www.thevictorapplefarm.com/
The Apple Farm's GoFundMe site: https://www.gofundme.com/apple-farm-victor-fire-rebuild