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Peter Arcidiacono takes a group photo with Tosca Cesaretti, Misha Bussemey, Michael Whitehawk and Samantha Whitehawk on the first day of cleanup.

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Tosca Cesaretti and Misha Bussemey, the day after a wildfire claimed 5.5 acres of their property.

From fire to rebirth: Wake the Dead, community members host benefit to help Springtown Roasters recover from recent wildfires

Monday, September 18, 2023

On Sunday afternoon, Aug. 5, Misha Bussemey and Tosca Cesaretti learned how swiftly life can change. The owners of Springtown Roasters, a local craft coffee roasting company, were preparing for the Sunday Buda Farmers Market when Bussemey went to let out their dogs. She smelled something burning, but finding no evidence of a fire, she went back inside. 
Soon after, they noticed a strange orange light through their sliding glass doors. 
“When we walked outside, we saw a huge black plume of smoke billowing over the roastery,” Bussemey said. “Talk about a scary moment. We had time to just throw the dogs in the van and get out.” 
As the firestorm quickly advanced, Bussemey, Cesaretti and their dogs fled for their lives, watching as growing clouds of smoke consumed the coffee roastery they had built and established in 2017.
First responders and firefighters arrived on the scene, managing to contain and then quell the 400-acre blaze, saving all but one home in the path of the fire. 
Then came the endless, arduous days of cleaning. 
“We’re still cleaning,” Bussemey said. “There’s just five and a half acres of burnt trees. Our rainwater barrels melted. We’re also cleaning up the shipping container that burned. We’ve spent a lot of time just clearing things out.” 
To help get them back on their feet, Bussemey started a GoFundMe page ( to help defray the tremendous cost of rebuilding. Within the first hour of seeing the GoFundMe post on Facebook, Julie Balkman of Wake the Dead Coffeehouse reached out to Bussemey, asking how she could be of assistance. In typical San Marcos fashion, Balkman was one of many who offered support. 
“So many people reached out that day,” Bussemey said. “It really meant a lot to us.”
Bussemey and Cesaretti, with Balkman’s assistance, have organized The Springtown Roasters Benefit for Wildfire Recovery, set for Sunday, Sept. 24 at Wake the Dead Coffeehouse, from 5 - 9:30 p.m. in order to help them reach their fundraising goal of $35,000. 
“It’s something that’s going to be fun with music and food, lots of stuff to bid on to raise money to get us back on our feet,” Bussemey said. “It’s just a moment for the whole community to come together and to give them hugs. I’ve been hugging everybody these days. We’re really appreciative of the whole community.”   
The benefit will feature plates of food for sale donated by Steger’s Chiffonade, with either pork or chickpea sliders, coleslaw and potato salad. The event will also have live music, a raffle, beer from Middleton’s Brewery and cookies.
“My Mom is baking so many cookies to donate,” Bussemey said. “We’ve got a lot of fun things lined up.”
As Bussemey and Cesaretti plan the benefit at Wake the Dead, they continue to clear their property and plan their next steps, all the while seeing the silver linings amid the destruction.
“We’ve been roasting since 2017, but it seemed like when we needed something, it was always, ‘well, this will work.’ Now we can look at things and think, ‘What’s next?’ Having it burn, it opened up a whole new canvas of possibilities. So that’s the silver lining. And things are already starting to grow back!” 
Springtown Roasters’ website is back online and Bussemey and Cesaretti are already roasting coffee. Find them at the farmers market every Saturday, as well as at Radish & Dill and on the shelf at Cornucopia. Springtown Roasters offers unique coffees from around the world, focusing on women-produced and Fair Trade organic coffees. Central to their business philosophy is their dedication to supporting local nonprofit organizations such as PALS, the Greater San Marcos Youth Council, the San Marcos River Foundation and the Texas Veterans Commission. Learn more about Springtown Roasters on their website at

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666