Sunday, April 14, 2024

Neighbors Rush to Assist Van Grouw Family After Fire Consumes Beloved Hope Cress Farm Barn

The beloved Hope Cress Farms barn, which was destroyed by fire December 7. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Van Grouw family of Hope Township after a fast-moving fire swept through their barn at Hope Cress Farms. 

The Van Grouws lost 40 pigs and 400 chickens in the blaze, which was reported just after midnight on December 7. 

In addition to the livestock, the family lost several tractors and other farm equipment. The losses were still being evaluated at press time.

Hope Deputy Mayor John Kruk as of January 1st, the organizer of the GoFundMe page, emphasized that the Van Grouw farm is not a “hobby farm,” rather, it is their livelihood. 

“Hope Cress Farms is more than just a piece of land,” said Kruk. “It is the Van Grouw family’s livelihood, an active farm.”

Describing the Van Grouw family as “a cornerstone of the community,” Kruk said that four members of the family serve on the Hope Volunteer Fire Dept.

“The Van Grouw family has always been there for us, and now it’s our turn to stand by them,” Kruk said.

Kruk said the most immediate need is for hay and feed for the farm’s surviving livestock, as well as replacement of the lost farm equipment. Anyone who can donate time and skills to the Van Grouw family farm is also encouraged to step up. 

Sadly, the insurance on the farm had recently lapsed, Kruk said, leaving the family with the entire burden of replacing what has been lost. 

A longtime fixture at the Blairstown Farmer’s Market, Hope Cress Farms is well-known for its eggs, pastured beef, chicken, and pork, all of which is raised on the farm, located on Union Brick Road, just north of the Hope town center. 

Farm owners Craig and Jenny Van Grouw, through their Facebook page, said, “As some of you may have heard, we lost our barn last night due to a fire. On behalf of the Hope Cress Farm family, we want to thank everyone who has reached out. It has not gone unnoticed!” 

They added, “Thank you to Hope Volunteer FD and all the other amazing fire companies and first responders who came out to help. We appreciate each and every one of you!”

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.