Henscratch Farms of Highlands County
Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery, based in Lake Placid, specializes in wine, u-pick grapes, strawberries and blueberries. The vineyard, planted in 1999, began production with its first crush of muscadine and scuppernong grapes from their own vineyards in August 2003. With several varieties of wine in production today, the business has consistently grown.
Henscratch Farms was lucky enough to have just hosted its annual Grape Stomp Festival in August, when Hurricane Irma blew through town just one month later, leaving the business, and many others, crippled.
Looking for some assistance to recoup from the damage, Jones contacted the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida in Tampa and was directed to its South Florida State College office in Avon Park. Florida SBDC at USF business consultant, Michael Noel, guided him through the process of applying for a State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan.
When asked about his experience with the storm and the assistance received, Jones recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
We had severe damage to grape vines and trees, and building damage.
How will the Bridge Loan help?
It was much needed to get the farm back together. It will help us get cleaned up and up and running.
How was the Florida SBDC at USF helpful during this process?
Michael Noel was most helpful. He kept in contact and went out of his way to be accommodating.