One year ago, the owners of Clover Nook Farm in Bethany had to quickly take cover as one of the four tornadoes tore through the farm and destroyed a nearly 200-year-old barn.
"All of a sudden all hell broke loose," co-owner Lars Demander recalled. "It wasn't gradual or anything it was just at the snap of the fingers."
For eight generations, Demander's family has owned and operated the farm.
"We heard about the last time we had something that bad here was 1938," Demander said. "It was a hurricane when we lost a different barn.”
On May 15, 2018, Demander said it was a normal day until later in the afternoon around 5 p.m.
Clover Nook Farm in Bethany Sustains Extensive Damage
“I saw the storm clouds roll in and standard procedure for a thunderstorm is we put all the equipment away in the barns and lock down the greenhouse,” he said.
While Demander and his parents were locking down one of the greenhouses, the tornado that touched down in Beacon Falls made its way through Bethany.
“The second greenhouse blew up on top of the one we were in, the hanging baskets started raining down and then we just made a run for it for the house,” Demander said.
It was a good thing they took shelter in their home.
"Luckily we didn’t run to the old storage barn cause that’s the barn that came down that everybody saw on the news," Demander said. "It was all over.”
Despite the extensive damage, "you chug along, a farmer you do what you have to do," Demander said.
In December, the farm reached a big milestone in its recovery from the tornado damage.
“The main thing was rebuilding the barn we lost cause we needed storage space for all the equipment which is what we built here, a new pole barn,” Demander said.
On nearby Pole Hill Road, a wooded area with many damaged trees is a reminder of the destruction Demander said he hopes to never see again.
“I’m hoping it’s a once in a lifetime thing and I got it out of the way early,” he said.
A fundraiser at New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge raised about $12 thousand to help with rebuilding efforts, Demander said.
This season Clover Nook Farm opens for business on Friday May 24.