Evernorth Rural Ventures and Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) announced the closing of $11.4 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation for the redevelopment of the “Yellow Barn” in Hardwick, Vt.
The project will preserve and renovate the historic Yellow Barn and construct a new building next door with two anchor tenants: the Hardwick-based nonprofit Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) and Greensboro cheesemaker, the Cellars at Jasper Hill. CAE will operate a community cold storage for local farmers and food producers, while scaling up Farm Connex, a delivery service for small and medium farms and food businesses that would otherwise not have a way to get their products to market.
The Cellars at Jasper Hill will centralize order fulfillment and storage from multiple locations, improving efficiency and setting the company up for continued growth. Once renovated, the barn will become a retail destination operated by Cabot Creamery for its signature dairy products and to showcase other local agricultural products.
The NMTC funding supports the construction of a new 25,137 square foot food business accelerator building and the adaptive reuse of the vacant, historic 4,762 square foot yellow dairy barn for use as a retail shop, collectively called the Yellow Barn Business Accelerator.
Situated on 4.7 acres of land in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK), the Accelerator project aims to be a catalyst for innovation, sparking growth of the region’s farms, small-scale and larger food manufacturing, and job creation in one of Vermont’s historically poorest regions. The business accelerator is scheduled to open in spring 2024.
“The Yellowbarn Accelerator building in Hardwick is an important piece of infrastructure that supports Jasper Hill's production of world class artisan cheese and will enable Jasper Hill to continue creating demand for premium quality milk from local farms. This public private initiative represents the kind of collaboration required to build an economy for the 21st century in the Northeast Kingdom and we are deeply appreciative of everyone that has come together over the past 5 years to make this happen," said Mateo Kehler, co-founder/head cheesemaker, Jasper Hill Farm. "And while the financing phase of this project is over, the long-term economic development work is before us and we are very excited to have the opportunity to participate in building an Agriculture Supported Community.”
"Cabot Creamery is very proud to be a part of the YellowBarn Project," added Sarah Healy, senior vice president of marketing, Cabot Creamery. "The town of Hardwick has deep ties to our cooperative, and we are looking forward to helping visitors discover this wonderful community. In our retail location, we intend to carry brands that represent the best of Vermont, including our own award-winning cheeses, as well as other dairy, maple, and food products.”
“We are proud to be a part of this project that supports farmers, agriculturally based businesses, and food processing to create economies of scale and reach markets outside of the NEK and Vermont," said Beth Boutin, Vice President of Evernorth Rural Ventures. “This investment not only supports the individuals who will work here and their families, but the entire community and beyond.”
Photo by Vanessa Fournier.