‘It still doesn’t quite seem real,’ says Jenny Devereau.
She’s talking only days after a huge fire destroyed the barn which they used to store and pack all their fresh salads.
The fire broke out on Monday night last week when Jenny and her family were sleeping in the farmhouse just across the Staarvey Road.
When fire crews from Peel, Kirk Michael and Douglas arrived on the scene the barn was well ablaze. The Devereaus posted a heartfelt thank to the fire crews on their Facebook page.
They said: ‘We’d just like to give a big shout out to Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service for the tremendous job they did in tackling our barn fire.
‘Thank you so much to the huge number of firefighters from across the island who were there to help for hours, having already been at work and then having to work the next day with virtually no sleep – you are amazing!’
On Friday the fire had re-ignited in a few places, fanned by the strong winds, but was soon extinguished again.
The cause of the fire has not yet been established.
Although devastating for the Devereau family, who work hard growing premium organic salads, Jenny explains that it could have been even worse. During the growing season the barn would have been full of freshly picked salads and herbs, all ready to be sent out to Robinson’s and numerous restaurants around the island.
Jenny says: ‘The good thing at this time of year is that we’re not supplying anyone: we stop picking around the end of November and don’t start again until the middle to the end of February.’
However, the packaging equipment, the chiller they used for storing the salad – Stephen picks everything each day and normally puts it straight into the chiller – and all the jams they had made were all in the barn.
The Devereaus moved in in 2005 and subsequently bought the land across the road where the barn was situated. Their jam kitchen, where they make a range of jams, chutneys and vinegars from the fruit and vegetables they grow, is on the other side of the road adjacent to the farmhouse.
Jenny says: ‘We’ll clear that out now and use it for packing. We will need to get a new chiller and we might have to build a temporary building next to the jam kitchen, just to store things.
‘There is much work to be done, and it will be a big job to clear and rebuild, which will take time, but we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has sent us messages of support and offered help, it is very much appreciated.’