[Market-farming] commercial kitchen advice?

KAKerby at aol.com KAKerby at aol.com
Thu Nov 15 09:22:09 EST 2012

We just had one of the Cottage Industry regs passed here and I  had high 
hopes for what we'd be able to do with it.  But after reading  through the 
list of what's permitted and what's not, we've gone back to our  planning and 
scheming for building our own commercial kitchen here (postage  stamp sized 
of course).  There are just too many things we'd like to be  able to do, 
which we couldn't do under the Cottage Industry permit.

I found myself wondering whether there might be grant funds for this  type 
of project, either at the local, state or federal level.  That would  in 
part depend on whether you planned to make this facility available to  
neighbors.  If yes, that might open up a huge variety of funding options  (but then 
you'd have to get along really well with your neighbors).  If  not, the 
chances aren't as good but it's worth exploring.

Not exactly a commercial kitchen per se, but Sugar Mountain Farm in VT  has 
been building an on-farm butchering facility for their own use, after  
getting tired of driving down their mountain to get their hogs to the  
processor.  While that might not have much overlap with your specific  products, 
their fundraising method is noteworthy.  They had a substantial  amount of money 
they needed to raise, and they did so with online fundraising  tools which 
I really have to admire.  Their customers essentially built  that facility 
for them.  You may want to visit their blog and read more  about how they 
funded that building; it's a substantial building with a  substantial pricetag, 
and as far as I know it was entirely bootstrapped with  funds from their 
own earnings, AND donations from their own customer base.   Now THAT is 
community supported agriculture.  Their website is _http://sugarmtnfarm.com/_ 
(http://sugarmtnfarm.com/) .  The owner  Walter may also have some advice on how 
to work with state regulators to get  something like that approved; 
different state but probably a  universally-applicable mindset.
One last suggestion - there are a variety of state-specific and regional  
agricultural advocacy groups who exist to help get projects like these going, 
 and provide guidance, resources and perhaps some 'grease the wheels' 
assistance  too.  In our area, one of the more active groups is called the 
Northwest Ag  Business Center.  If we were to move forward with our project, 
they'd be  the first people I called to guide our development and help chart the  
course.  I would imagine that there is either a state-specific or regional  
group like that up in your neck of the woods as well.  If you haven't  
already contacted them, that might be a good ally to have.
Keep us posted on how your project proceeds; I'll be watching and I'm sure  
a number of others will be too.
Kathryn Kerby, who is at least 24 months behind you on something like  this
Snohomish, WA
In a message dated 11/15/2012 1:53:43 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
boulderbelt at embarqmail.com writes:

Talk to  your county health department person, if you haven't already. They 
will tell  you exactly what they expect and will work with you to get to 
the goal of a  licensed kitchen. At least that is true in my county in Ohio. I 
have not set  up such a kitchen but from working on a lot of commercial 
kitchens I know what  is required

You must have a bathroom/toilet, a hand sink, floors and  walls that can be 
washed (no carpet), SS tables and shelves, this seems to  hold no matter 
what state. You might also need an exhaust hood and  refrigeration as well. 
But like I said talk to the county health district  folks

What Tom is talking about are Cottage Industry Regs which a lot  of states 
now have and they cover a lot but by no means everything. I had the  idea to 
offer meat raised by others out of my farm store but that meant  getting 
the facility licensed and that would have set me back at least  $15K.

Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt  Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH
_http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com_ (http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com/) 

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