For those who weren't aware, Carpinteria, California, Red Hen Cannery's location, was in the direct path of the devastating Thomas Fire and recent mudslides. Luckily, the amazing firefighters and emergency personnel kept our farm and family safe, although we are still dealing with massive amounts of mud. We are so grateful to the 8,700 emergency personnel who have worked to keep our community safe, and to the police and firefighters who evacuated us in the dark of night twice in three weeks. As the search continues for victims in Montecito, we send our thoughts, prayers, wishes, hopes, and love to any and all people dealing with this tragedy.
I feel deep empathy for our friends and neighbors who are suffering from this massive disaster's fury. Everyone we know here has experienced some sort of loss, from great to small: loss of home, loss of family, loss of sales, loss of school days, loss of feeling safe. I send this message out now to connect with you, my customers, and to offer you opportunities to understand, connect and to help.
Just to give you a sense of our experience, my daughter was out of school for 5 weeks (including the holiday break) and my business was down one third in the holidays. We've been struggling with every aspect of normal life: childcare, transportation, business, work, finances. That's on top of the overwhelming worry about the next rain storm and possible new mudslide. Also, with the 101 freeway cut off, I have not been able to sell my jams and marmalades at the farmers markets. I'm isolated from all my weekly customers, wholesale and retail. I also am struggling to reach farmers and suppliers for my product. If you'd like to help our business directly, please feel free to place an order from our online store now here. Please note that there may be a slight delay due to mail/sourcing issue.
How else can you help? First, book a trip to Santa Barbara or Carpinteria or reach out to some of our local businesses and nonprofits to buy local products or make a donation. Here are some of my favorites spots:
Hospice of Santa Barbara: Nonprofit organization that is helping with all mental health issues related to disaster deaths and mental health.
Flagstone Pantry: Amazing food!
Blue Sands Inn: Great remodeled retro hotel with fantastic decor and reasonable rates.
Chocolate Maya: Buy your Valentine's Day chocolate now!
Santa Barbara Company: One-stop shopping for everything Santa Barbara.
Lucky Llama: Amazing coffee shop in Carpinteria!
Santa Claus Beach: my favorite spot in the whole world, besides our farm.
The struggle has been so intense that I'm even considering closing my doors, but I'm hoping it won't come to that. Right now, we feel so lucky. We could see flames from our front yard, in Carpinteria's front country. The hills behind our town turned white from ash, instead of snow. The creek bused out on the northside instead of the south, saving our neighborhood from car-sized boulders. To read more about our family's ordeal during the fire, see the coverage on ABC Nightly News.
For now, thanks for your support of our Red Hen products and jams and marmalades. Your kindness has been what's kept me going until now. Even if you don't need more jam now, a kind word would go a long ways. Feel free to reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org. It's always great to hear from you! I've also attached some photos from the farm below so you can see what we've been going through. They're from the mudslide because the fire didn't really translate into photos very well.