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Mole Hollow building plans uncertain

Herb farmers moving holistic health center to Chesterfield

The former Mole Hollow Candle building overlooks the Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls. (Recorder/Diane Broncaccio)

The former Mole Hollow Candle building overlooks the Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls. (Recorder/Diane Broncaccio)

SHELBURNE FALLS — The old Mole Hollow candle factory/grist mill will not become a holistic health center after all.

Instead, the building owners have announced that the Goldthread Organic Herb Farm and Apothecary center will be built in Chesterfield on a 40-acre farm that will also be used for growing medicinal herbs and for the organization’s Farm to Pharmacy School program.

“After a very exciting year spent developing a health center in Shelburne Falls, we have decided the building ... is not the right place for us to cultivate our central mission for Goldthread,” said an email from the organization. “This new farm will support all of our services and products in a way the in-town location could not. ”

For years, the former candle factory and store was a key element in the village’s tourism scene, which blossomed over those past three or so decades, and its position overlooking one of the village’s major tourist draws, the Glacial Potholes, continues to make it a significant piece of real estate for the commercial health of the downtown.

In November 2012, the Mole Hollow building was sold to the Legacy Project LLC, in care of Erika Mehiel for $748,000. Edith and Erika Mehiel are the building owners and William Siff runs the Goldthread Organic Herb Farm and Apothecary. In February 2013, Edith Mehiel said the group planned to renovate the building to serve as a wellness center, herbal apothecary, tea lounge, holistic health care library and learning center with classes in the building.

Work has been done to stabilize the foundation of the old grist mill building, which was built on fill dirt during the 1840s, according to David Clark of Shelburne Falls, who is managing the Mole Hollow building. “We submitted for work permits, but we haven’t started construction,” he said. “We are still closing down the building, in terms of tightening it up and making it a safe place to be. After that, the owners will decide whether they want to put it up for sale or rent it out,” he said.

He said the 3-acre farm that Goldthread owns in Conway is great for classes but does not produce enough for sales of herbal products.

The letter goes on to say that Goldthread will expand its current Conway agricultural activities to a farm in Chesterfield. “This all amounts to a very significant shift, one that will offer 40 acres of medicinal plants, a 70-by-40-foot year-round greenhouse, 60 acres of forest ... and a fully sustainable and integrated education facility.”

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277.

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