Chesapeake farm gets help rebuilding after tornado

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Hickory Ridge Farm is rebuilding after an EF-0 tornado destroyed much of the property Friday.

The farm, located on Battlefield Boulevard, lost its stand, play area and half of its animal pen due to high winds.

According to a post on the farm's Facebook page several building materials for the new stand arrived Wednesday with Kempsville Building Supply helping with costs.

"We farm...we don`t build," said Robin Pierce, who owns Hickory Ridge Farm with her husband. "Everyday someone in the community reaches out to us saying 'how can I help?'."

Since the tornado, two GoFundMe pages started by community members have raised more than $3,000 for repairs.

Pierce says the farm will use that money to pay for new children's play houses, which were also destroyed. She says Leonard, the company that makes them, is charging them a fraction of what the houses typically cost.

Wednesday, nearly two dozen people from the Kempsville Mennonite Church came out to help with hard labor by helping to rebuild the farm stand and repaint the barn -- both heavily damaged in the storm.

"We know that we serve God by serving other people," said Marcus Kauffman who attends the church and owns Heritage Bake Shop in Virginia Beach. "[Hickory Ridge Farms grows] strawberries and during strawberry season we pick strawberries here or buy them pre-picked from them and we turn them to strawberry pies."

But the connection goes beyond just business.

"So many people have given us all this feedback on how we`ve impacted their families and how they come out here to make memories and so it`s just been amazing," said Pierce.

Hickory Ridge Farm is known for its U-pick strawberries and pumpkins and is slated to open for the season April 22.