[Market-farming] commercial kitchen advice?

Wiediger, Alison alison.wiediger at hart.kyschools.us
Thu Nov 15 09:24:20 EST 2012


Rivka,

We built a licensed commercial kitchen to use as a bakery last year.  We are in South Central Kentucky. We had a 2-car carport, attached to the house on one wall that we enclosed.  So, we had a floor and a roof to begin.  The only thing we did ourselves was paint walls and ceiling (11 foot!), clean the floor, and wire in the oven.  Not counting any equipment, it cost about $30/sq ft.  The most expensive thing we were required to have was a totally new, separate septic system with 1000 gal grease trap (didn't matter that baking bread we have no grease), 1000 gal septic tank (which baking once a week we will never fill) and 600 feet of laterals.  That caught us by surprise.  We thought as small as we were planning, and baking only once a week, we could use the existing house system. But Kentucky law had no provisions for small bakeries.

The good news is that it will pay for itself in two years at the current rate of sales.  And, we could use it for other things such as processing produce, etc., if we wanted to, although there would be more levels of oversight, no doubt.  And, it is a beautiful space that will enhance our house if we ever decide we no longer want to bake.  The folks at the state level here were very helpful.  You might want to contact yours.  This is probably one place it's not better to ask forgiveness than permission. We actually had health dept officials show up at our farmers market looking at licenses one Saturday.

The last thing to tell you is that it took about 3 times as long to get finished as we had thought, and cost more than double. If we had known that up front, we might not have plunged.  But, we ARE enjoying it.

Alison Wiediger
Au Naturel Farm


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