|New Owner of Apple Barn Hopes to Continue its Legacy |
|By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff|
01:01PM / Saturday, March 25, 2023
|Sarah Albright purchased the Apple Barn last September. |
|A bulk of Albright's adult life was centered around farming on her family-run farm where they produced pasture-raised meat products with a focus on pork and shelf-stable products from their farm store. |
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The new owner of Apple Barn and Bake Shop Sarah Albright has fond memories of visiting the shop in the fall with her parents — little did she know at the time one day it would be hers.
Former owner Lia Diamond announced on Facebook last April that she was not re-opening the seasonal store.
Hundreds of people flocked to the Facebook post expressing their love for the Apple Barn's baked goods, products, and experience that it had provided to them and their families.
Albright, too, had a connection with the shop and decided to intervene.
Since opening, she has heard similar stories from patrons.
"It's something that people really relate to. The number of customers that come in and talk about where they're sending their doughnuts, where they're shipping their pies. There are stories of love all the time built into what this business has been doing for years," Albright said.
Albright purchased the store in September and since then, has been working with her team to keep the "community-based agricultural enterprises legacy" alive.
"Being in Vermont and having the ability to connect people to the products, that are super hyperlocal and have been the backbone of this community financially for decades, is really important," Albright said.
"And I think that moving forward, we really want to capitalize on that and deepen those connections between people of the community and the food that is locally produced."
Albright had worked toward purchasing the barn for about a year, putting together all of the pieces that are needed to run and maintain the business.
"I came from an eclectic background, but with a focus on agriculture. When the barn came up for sale, it was a little bit of a pipe dream to consider owning it," Albright said.
"It was something that really fed into a lot of my passions and I was really excited to come in and connect with the community and continue the great relationship that [Diamond] had with the locals."
A bulk of Albright's adult life was centered around farming on her family-run farm where they produced pasture-raised meat products with a focus on pork and shelf-stable products from their farm store.
Three years ago Albright went through a divorce that forced her to reconsider her professional options. She went into carpentry and became a personal chef.
"Finding the barn and being able to relate back to those farming practices that I was so passionate about, as well as being able to cook and maintain this beautiful barn, it just seems like the picture-perfect puzzle," she said.
Although the barn still receives its apples from Southern Vermont orchards, this is the first time that it is not associated with the orchard.
The barn was originally opened in 1973 by Diamond's father Harold Albright who also owned the nearby Southern Vermont Orchards apple farm, as a gift shop.
Over the years the barn has since become a Route 7 icon, known for its doughnuts and pie recipes that have now been passed down to Albright.
"[The bakery has been] a key element to our success here and our relationship with the local community has been based on that," Albright said. "So we're just really looking to continue the legacy that the previous owner Lia Diamond established and try to bring in some new fresh ideas as well."
Patrons can experience that legacy this Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for its Maple Festival in celebration of maple season.
The event features opportunities to connect with local maple producers and talk about their products.
They will serve sugar on snow, the shop's maple creemees, and some specialty maple items from the bakery
"It'll be fun to trudge through the mud season and have fun with some maple products. You know, looking forward to that spring push and we're gonna start it with the celebrating maple," Albright said.
More information on the Apple Barn and Bake Shop here