|2/9/2018 11:38:00 AM|
Fire destroys Highland's Hidden Treasure
|Saturday morning at 2 a.m., Craig Ramsden, owner of The Summer Kitchen was abruptly woken up by his dog. He awoke to find his bedroom filling with smoke. He stepped outside from the door in his bedroom, and looked in the house to see flames. |
The last fire truck left the scene at 4:30 a.m. After talking with officials on the scene, this was the biggest, and hottest fire they had seen in awhile. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
The Summer Kitchen house is one of the oldest buildings in Highland, the deed dating back to 1849. The house itself sits on land once used for mining ore. In the early years of the house's history, a disease swept through Centerville, (now Highland), and wiped out nearly everything, aside from The Summer Kitchen.
Jim Schroeder bought the property sometime in the early 70's. At that point, the kitchen was, essentially, a cow pasture. Jim fixed it up, and then after his death, Dan Aultman took over the business and renovated the building as well, matching and updating decor. When Craig Ramsden bought it, they made a few renovations to the beautiful, victorian style, farmhouse.
When Craig bought The Summer Kitchen in May of 2015, it was already an established business. The Summer Kitchen business began sometime around 1972, when Jim Schroeder bought it. He began picking wild berries and making jams out of them. Jim was one of the founding board members of the Dane County Farmer's Market, and The Summer Kitchen was the oldest vendor present at the Dane County Farmer's Market when the next owner, Dan, died in 2014.
When he passed away, Dan had lots of inventory left to sell. Once the inventory was sold, the house sat on the market for a while. The family was hoping for someone who would be interested in taking on the business, to buy the property.
Craig no longer wanted to farm, so he sold the farm and began looking into The Summer Kitchen. He thought that it would be strange to not plant and harvest like he was used to, but as it turns out, taking on The Summer Kitchen was just another form of agriculture the Ramsden family got to experience.
There are a variety of fruit trees, vines, and plants that they learned to care for. As they began to take on the business, the Ramsdens continued to make jams and jellies, which was nothing new to them, as the Ramsden children were in 4-H and made their own to take to fair. They also added baked goods and their famous apple cider donuts to the list of merchandise they sell.
The Ramsden family would like to extend a thank you to the Cobb, Montfort, and Highland fire departments for being there and working so hard. They would also like to thank the community for their support. "In such a small community, its awesome to have this kind of support from people," says Brenna Ramsden. Lastly, The Summer Kitchen would also like to thank their customers and their vendors for their continued support as well.
There are various places taking donations for the Ramsden family; the Bar Stool Sports Pub in Highland, being one of them.
At this point, the family is unsure of future plans.
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