May 18, 2021Fire strikes Kitchen Farms in Michigan
A large Northern Michigan potato-growing operation has been ravaged by fire.
Structures at Kitchen Farms, located in Antrim County in Michigan’s lower peninsula, caught fire mid-morning on May 17 and continued to burn into the next day. According to UpNorthLive, seven buildings are a complete loss. (See UpNorthLive’s story for more pictures.)
Cause of the fire was linked to construction on one of the buildings and was fueled by pallets and packaging, a local official told the Detroit News.
Spudman featured Kitchen Farms in early 2019. The operation dates back to 1910, when Robert Kitchen purchased 80 acres of land. It has grown to approximately 5,000 acres, about 3,900 of which are irrigated.
Fourth-generation grower Don Kitchen and wife, Sarah, now own the farm. They grow close to 1,300 acres of commercial potatoes each year. They also have a packing and shipping operation. Don Kitchen is a commissioner with the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.
Firefighters expected the burn to continue into May 19 before it’s fully contained.
Kitchen told the Detroit News that about two-thirds of this year’s crop had been planted. He said the operation will rebuild its losses, but it would be into next year before that can be accomplished.
Top photo: Don Kitchen