MULLICA, N.J. — On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, parts of Gloucester County were hit by a devastating F3 tornado generated from Hurricane Ida. Two of our largest farms in the county were hit hardest and received almost total destruction. Wellacrest Farm, owned and operated by the Eachus Family and Angelo and Lenoard Grasso Farm, both of Mullica Hill, NJ succumbed to the tornado.
Wellacrest Farms, a dairy farm established in 1943, located in Mullica Hill NJ, has been devastated. Wellacrest, a state landmark, produces more than 17 million pounds of milk a year with approximately 1,400 cows. They have been delivering dairy to customers for almost 80 years. The aftermath of this event is overwhelming, and the losses will continue to grow over the coming days.
The family is heroically utilizing the resources they have left to accommodate the needs of their cows, but every facility on the farm has been damaged by this storm in a catastrophic way. Many of the barns, hay barn, silos holding grain, equipment for field and barn yard and fields that were planted for fall harvest and winter feed are completely lost. This will be an extreme hardship for the family to endure, and they have a long road ahead towards recovery. The farm has been blessed with many neighboring farmers who have the expertise to safely help on site.
Angelo and Leonard Grasso, Vegetable Farmers in Mullica Hill, NJ who lost just about everything from the Hurricane Ida tornado. Both their homes were damaged and now uninhabitable. They are currently living with other family members. Farm buildings, greenhouses, trucks and other equipment were destroyed. Vegetable crops survived in many of their fields down the road, but their equipment and buildings to harvest and pack the crops have been destroyed. They are unable to continue farming on their own this season. This family just put their life savings into construction of a new packing and cooling facility that meets modern food safety standards. It was completed just last week. In a blink of an eye, that improvement project was destroyed.
Neighboring farmers are doing their best to help with clean up and salvaging crops in the field, but it looks like the 2021 growing season is over for this farm family. They have suffered devastating personal, structural, financial, and emotional losses.
Farmers are the backbone of our community. These local family farms have supported our community through service on organizations, hunger relief programs, and other local charities. Also, they are some of the most humble, hard-working, and giving people in our community. Anyone who knows them will tell you what wonderful families they are. They help to feed the rest of us and now they need our help.
There are two GoFundMe pages set up for both farms:
For Wellacrest Farm see: https://gofund.me/d9c6cae8
For Grasso Farm see: https://gofund.me/52929375
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support.
—James Rambo, Gloucester County Board of Agriculture: