Food Processing Center

About

About

The Food Processing Center (FPC) was created in 2001 to support new and growing food businesses as they navigate the path of bringing a food product to market. The FPC offers rental manufacturing space as well as co-packing services to food businesses in the commonwealth and beyond. We also work with local farms to make value-added products, like jams, sauces, pickles and purees. In addition to these services, our team also provides one-on-one counseling and technical assistance, supporting you with business planning, product development, regulatory compliance and more. If you would like to tour the Food Processing Center, please see our Visitor Policy and register for an info-session and tour here.

“This is an unbelievable organization, [they’re doing] exceptional, unbelievable work.”

MA Senator Jo Comerford, Awarding WMFPC with manufacturer of the year 2021

Food Processing Center Team

Liz Buxton, Director of Operations, 413-774-7204, X110
Kate Minifie, Food Business Manager, 413-774-7204, X104
Evan Manning, Operations Team Leader
Jason Noyes, Production Team Leader
Ary Rodriguez, Production Team Leader
Peter Freisem, Production Worker
David Lopez, Production Worker
Ben Oranellas, Production Worker

The Western Mass Food Processing Center’s mission is to promote economic development through entrepreneurship, provide opportunities for sustaining local agriculture, and promote best practices for food producers.

Register here for our WMFPC Food Safety Newsletter: The Bad Bug Bulletin!


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Services

Our Services

  • Product feasibility, prototyping and commercial process development/scale up
  • Rental production space
  • Co-packing/contract manufacturing services
  • Business planning & marketing support
  • Licensing navigation and regulatory compliance
  • Distribution/Ingredient sourcing support
  • Fully developed and implemented GMPs and SOPS with Certified PCQI on site
  • Our facility supports bottled and shelf-stable prepared foods, acidified foods, fresh-pack, and IQF freezing.
Rates

The Center charges an hourly fee for production, and fees for storage rental, etc. For certain members, a batch or per unit charge may be negotiated after several runs of product. See our current usage and storage rates.

Please note: Becoming a Producer at the Food Processing Center is not the same as FCCDC membership and requires approval by the FPC Manager.

Prototype

After attending an information session, you will work with our Food Business Coordinator and Director of Operations to develop an individualized plan based on the status of your product development and business plan. Barring special circumstances, every new producer is required to complete a prototype. This important step will help you to scale up and commercialize your recipe and process.  

Please note: The FCCDC and FPC cannot guarantee a commercially viable final product, or the “perfect” product after a prototype. Most times, prototypes go well, but sometimes they do not based on the unpredictability of producing a brand new product. However, we can guarantee extensive expertise and professionalism in working to build a successful food business. Second prototypes are common and will be billed at the regular production rate.

New Client Resources

We can also help with…

  • Value-Added Farm Products
    Support and training for agricultural producers and growers making value-added products or preserving harvests for retail and wholesale.
  • Specialty, Organic, Natural, and Retail Products
    Manufacturing space for specialty and organic food producers.
  • Professional Development
    Classes, workshops, and seminars designed to help start your business and expand your capabilities as a food entrepreneur.

Other shared-use kitchens to consider

If you are a very small producer or making a product that falls under MA Cottage Food Laws, you might consider one of the following…

Other co-packers in New England

  • Farm Bridge, NY
  • Commonwealth Kitchen, Dorchester NA
  • Hope and Main, RI
  • New England Natural Bakers, Greenfield MA
  • Genuine Local, Meredith NH
  • Chubby’s, Bernardston MA
  • Appalachian Natural, Goshen MA
  • Little Big Farm Foods, Portsmouth NH

Application Process

Start Here

Interested in exploring a business or idea? You’re in the right place! Step one is filling out our Interest Form. Once you have submitted your interest form, our team will contact you within two weeks with recommended next steps!

Step Two

Once you have submitted your Interest Form, and received recommended next steps, we’ll need to gather some more information from you. Collecting client information is critical for us to show our funders who we serve. Our Application includes questions regarding your estimated yearly gross income, explanation of business or idea and several other details. Your answers to these questions will help us help you by tailoring our services to meet your unique goals.

Information Sessions

We encourage you to register and attend an information session. You can attend an information session before or after submitting an Interest Form or Application.

Grow Your Business (all business)

Find out how our programs can help you with Counseling, Capital and Connections to GROW YOUR BUSINESS.
Learn about available resources and walk out knowing your next step.

FIRST Wednesday of the Month    2:00-3:00 pm FCCDC

Grow Your Food Product Business

Food Producers looking to make their products or have their products co-packed at the Western MA Food Center access the FCCDC’s expertise at a food-focused information session. We invite food producers interested in using the Center to join us to learn more about our services and on-boarding process. The info-session is followed by a tour of the facility. Call 413-774-7204 ext 100 to sign up or use the link below. You can preview the slideshow here.

Third Tuesday of the Month    10:00 – 11:00 am

Financing Farms and Healthy Food Retail

Interested in learning how to finance your farm or healthy food retail store? Learn about our PVGrows Investment Fund, the Mass Food Trust and other local options.

Second Wednesday of the month at 11:00 am.

Current Producers' Area

Current Producers

For more information about using the Food Processing Center Scheduling Software, call Liz Buxton at 413-774-7204 ext 110.

Meet our entrepreneurs

Whole Harmony is a health & wellness brand dedicated to Plant Medicine. Passionate Herbalists who study the properties | energies | actions of Plants. They've created an exceptional line of Wellness Tonics & Balancing Botanical Teas. Their belief in plant medicine combined with ancient healing traditions go into every herbal product they make. From the seed to the shelf, products are whole; no added sugar, preservatives, or other "natural flavorings".

Visit Whole Harmony's Website
We get it, Keto is hard and sometimes meal replacement shakes can be just as hard to drink. We make keto easy, with great tasting shakes designed to keep you in ketosis. The most common reaction people have to trying Sated for the first time is surprise! They never knew a meal shake could be this delicious.

Visit Keto & Co's Website
The Beancake Company is dedicated to bringing the fantastic foods of western Africa to the American palate. Our goal is to educate the public about the tasty, satisfying, and healthy benefits of these offerings.
~ Francis Mozea

Visit The Beancake Company's Website
Simple Gifts Farm Store exists to bring the best of the local food system to the North Amherst community. They aim to provide food to ALL members of the community, while building connections to the community farm.
They stock fantastic seasonal organic produce, from their farm and from neighboring farms. Their fruit is low-spray, or organic if available. Other artisan food products are all made in a state that borders Massachusetts.
Simple Gift Farm produces a variety of value-added products at the Western MA Food Processing Center, including a variety of pestos, crushed whole tomato and flash frozen produce packs.

Visit Simple Gifts Farm Website
Old Friends Farm grows food and flowers with integrity. They offer fair pay to their workers and owners, and foster connection between the community and local agriculture. Old Friends is committed to increasing accessibility of local food for all members of our greater community. Old Friends Farm manages the farm to be part of a healthy ecosystem. They produce a line of flavored honeys and syrups at the WMFPC, using the ginger and turmeric grown on farm.

Visit Old Friends' Website
Maple Craft Foods produces a line of flavored maple syrups. The family still taps their own trees, but also use high quality, organic maple syrup supplied by friends who slow boil it traditionally, over an open flame, on a farm in Vermont, giving it its rich caramel color and robust taste. One taste of Maple Craft products will make you smile. But don't take their word for it - give it a try!

Visit Maple Craft's Website
It all started with a little mason jar. In 2007, Michaela roped her husband into helping her with another one of her new herbal concoctions in the kitchen. They spent the evening scrubbing and chopping vegetables, loaded them into a little mason jar, and topped it off with some apple cider vinegar. Weeks later they opened it up, strained it out, and poured the liquid back into the jar. They took their first "shot" of Master Tonic and knew this was something special.
Master Tonic (also known as FIRE CIDER) is a super concentrated health and wellness remedy used for thousands of years for its holistic healing qualities.

Visit Yerbary's Website
If you’re looking to raise the bar on flavor and heat at your next barbecue give 92nd Sauce a try! 92nd Sauce is not for the timid. The flavor is incredibly rich, bold and smokey. It may be the boldest most smokey sauce you’ve ever tasted.

Visit Smokey Divas' Website
Husband and Wife, Jason and Shannon Green realized they had something awesome going when they started getting multiple requests a week for Jason’s delicious set of sauces…“That’s when we knew we had to take it up a notch and make it available!”

Jason has been a chef since 2002. When you taste his food you know he loves his job! He has a knack for using science to amp up his creations leaving you with an amazing spectrum of flavor combinations! In 2010 he developed the Original Jay’s Wicked Barbeque sauce and featured it on his Wicked BBQ Burgers. The people spoke and started requesting sauce for personal use!

Visit Jay's Website
Howlin' Hot Sauce was born on Anguilla, a tiny island in the Caribbean, and perfected on the Cape. They make every effort to keep their products sustainable. They hope consumers will join them in efforts to protect our planet and its resources. "From one sandbar to another, we're all connected."

Visit Cape Cod Howlin's Website
Herrels homemade hot fudge is made in small batches from scratch, using the exact same recipe they're been ladling onto their award-winning ice cream at their ice cream shoppes for over 35 years.

Simple, real ingredients — No corn syrup, preservatives or artificial flavors.
Delicious as a fondue with your favorite fruits and cakes. Enjoy in your family recipes which call for chocolate, including cookies, drizzle cakes and fillings!

Visit Herrel's Website
Ghee is clarified butter—a lactose-free, shelf-stable, high-heat cooking oil with origins in ancient India. To make our ghee, we begin with butter that comes from healthy, happy Jersey cows in Western Massachusetts. We slowly simmer the butter, removing the moisture, the milk solids, and the impurities. What remains is a pure premium cooking oil: the clarified essence of butter. Our ghee has a rich, sweet, slightly nutty flavor.

Visit Full Moon Ghee's Website
Phoenix Fruit Farm is a newly-founded orchard business as of 2017. The farm has a long history in the community, and has been in orchard production since 1963.

Elly Vaughan, the owner/operator, has an extensive background in organic vegetable farming and is committed to bringing those same principles of responsible land stewardship and environmental awareness to orcharding. After managing the farm for a couple of years, Elly took over ownership of the property, with the intention of building on a legacy of high-quality, local fruit, while bringing new ideas to the farm. Phoenix Fruit Farm produces a variety of value-added products at WMFPC, including salsas, apple sauce and frozen produce.

Visit Phoenix Fruit Farm's Website
As a family, Oxen Hill manages a USDA Certified Organic vegetable and flower farm that primarily serves their CSA customers, while also catering to local groceries, restaurants and farmers’ markets. Their overall business philosophy continues to be centered around family, faith, and fun. They are honored to be a part of the rich cultural heritage of Connecticut agriculture. Oxen Hill produces a variety of value-added products at the Western MA Food Processing Center, including crushed whole tomato and flash frozen produce packs.

Visit Oxen Hill's Website
The mission of Red Fire Farm is to be a year-round local source for high quality food and garden plants grown at the farm using organic principles that result in safe food and a healthy environment. At Red Fire Farm they believe that there is a better way to farm than the chemical status quo that has dominated the American landscape and food system during the last half century. They believe that by working with the natural rhythms of the soil, plants, people and microorganisms they can grow excellent tasting food without the environmental and health risks that can accompany chemical intensive farming practices. RFF practices Certified Organic Farming. produces a variety of value-added products at the Western MA Food Processing Center, including salsa and flash frozen produce packs.

Visit Red Fire Farm's Website
For use in chocolate and in frosting and icing containing butter, cream, cream cheese, and other fats.

Visit The Plant Colors' Website
Olive Table's Mission is to provide extra virgin olive oil harvested with care, according to old world traditions, and processed to achieve excellence. Also, to supply the consumer with olive oil from Greece sourced exclusively from family members, thereby giving us full confidence in the harvesting methods and processing traditions used to produce our top quality extra virgin olive oils.

Olive Table's goal is to produce the highest quality olive oil with exceptional taste and health benefits. They also produce a line of honeys.

Visit Olive Table's Website
Vermont Quince is committed to using the highest quality ingredients in all our recipes. Thus, we have been using organic cane sugar, organic lemon and lime juices, organic habanero from Harlow Farm, organic ginger from Old Friends Farm, organic local fruits (rhubarb, sour cherry, crabapple, black currants) in our seasonal preserves and sauces since the beginning.

Visit Vermont Quince's Website
Carol Atwill has made a decadent fudge sauce for family and friends for years, using a recipe she perfected that was inspired by her mother. As her children grew, she had time on her hands and wanted to share this delectable dessert topping with everyone-- and Top This Dessert Toppings was born!

Visit the Top This website.
La Cebolla Roja is a small batch specialty food company specializing in making pickled red onions. The team believes that eating should be an event and food should be exciting. They make pickled red onions in small batches, with simple ingredients because flavor doesn't need to be complex.

Visit La Cebolla Roja's website
Graduates!Shire City Herbals
Real Pickles
Chubby's Sauces and Salsas
Ooma Tesoro Tomato Sauce
Goldthread Plant Based Tonics
Appalachian Naturals Dressings and Cooking Sauces
Old Friends Farm Syrups and Honeys
Kringle Candle Jams
Kitchen Garden Farm
Hot Harry's
Artisan Beverage Kombuchas

Valley Veggies

Locally Grown, Flash Frozen Fresh

Valley Veggies, a program owned and operated by the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, provides season extension opportunities for farmers and access to local food year-round for consumers. We partner with local farms to source 150,000 lbs of produce each season and freeze it at peak freshness. These products, packed into bulk and retail packs, are purchased by K-12 schools, colleges, hospitals and other entities seeking to participate in the Farm to Institution movement. In 2020, we began distributing these products to local grocery outlets, like co-ops, farm-stands and other grocers. Coming soon: Look for them at a store near you and find recipes to pair them with here!

Individual Quick Frozen

The Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center has the only IQF Machine in the region used to local food preservation in a shared use space.
IQF technology utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze product within minutes and offers the following benefits:

  • Nutrition Preservation: Produce is often frozen shortly after harvest at peak freshness when produce is packed with the most nutrients
  • Flavor and Integrity: Produce is frozen quickly, forming minimal ice crystals and maintaining product structure, integrity and flavor.
  • Fewer Food Miles: Food travels minimal miles from farm, to processor, to consumer, minimizing ecological impact and supporting the community and open space around us.
Partner Farms

We source all our veggies from within 50 miles of our facility in Greenfield, MA. Each box or bag of vegetables is marked with the farm of origin for complete transparency of the supply chain for the end consumer. 2020 & 2021 Partner Farms include:

David Mokrzecki Farm, Hadley MA

Joe Czajkowksi & Lakeside Organics, Hadley MA

Jekanowski Farm, Hadley MA

Bostrom Farm, Greenfield MA

Plainville Farm, Hadley MA

Kosinksi Farms, Westfield MA

Wholesale Inquiries

Valley Veggies are now available in retail packs! Think your customers would be interested in a local, frozen product? Wholesale inquiries can be sent to Kate Minifie at valleyveggies@fccdc.org or call 413-774-7204 ext. 104.

Institutional Food Service Inquiries

Our first, and perhaps most important, purchasers have been schools and hospitals. We work closely with Massachusetts Farm to School and Farm to Institution New England to build on these successes. All products are available in bulk packs for food service - 20 and 25 lbs. Bulk products are packed bag in box, with the farm of origin identified on the exterior. Details specs are included in our product sheet (link PDF).

Want to become a buyer? Contact Kate at katev@fccdc.org or 413-774-7204 ext. 104

Where To Find Our Products
  • Hagers Farm Market
  • State Street Fruits Market
  • Muffins General Store
  • Provisions Amherst
  • Gardening the Community
  • & more!

Institutional Partners

  • Boston Medical Center
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • MIT
  • Chartwells K-12 Schools
  • Springfield Public Schools
  • Deerfield Academy
Current Products

Broccoli Floret

Bell Pepper

Blueberry

Carrot

Carrot & Parsnip Blend

Butternut Squash

White Potato

Retail Availability Summer 2021

*Availability updated monthly*

Broccoli Floret - available

Bell Pepper - available

Blueberry - sold out until July 15 2021

Carrot - available

Carrot & Parsnip Blend - not available

Butternut Squash - available

White Potato - not available

Value-Added

Turn your crops into value-added products!

The Western MA Food Processing Center can turn your crops into value added products. We offer 12 recipes for products that will feature your tomatoes, peppers, cukes, root veggies, apples and more! Farmers deliver the key ingredient(s) to Greenfield and the WMFPC team will process, bottle, label and pack for you. We provide bottle, lid, label and case. Farmers sell finished product at their farms stands, as part of CSA’s and in the wholesale market. Contact Kate today to learn more – katem@fccdc.org or 413-774-7204, ext. 104

Value-Added Products
  1. Whole Crushed Tomatoes
  2. Tomato Jalapeno Salsa
  3. Peach Habanero Salsa
  4. Cucumber & Dill Relish
  5. Bread & Butter Pickles
  6. Pickled Beets
  7. Pickled Carrots
  8. Pickled Radish
  9. Apple Butter
  10. Apple Sauce
  11. Jalapeno Hot Sauce
  12. Various Pestos

See recipes here.

FAQ's

How flexible are you on expanding the current product list?

Yes, we are very interested in expanding our offerings, so please don’t hesitate to share ideas.

Can you modify current recipes if a farmer wants to add another ingredient?

Yes, but SOME altered recipes will need to be re-submitted to a process authority for approval, which could take a month or two, sometimes less. Please reach out with questions about specific recipes and ideas.

Are you willing to work with farmers who might want to develop their OWN recipes/products?

Yes, we are very interested in doing so. These projects generally have a longer timeline, so please reach out during the winter to start the conversation.

How are the different vegetables cut for the pickles?

All are sliced.

Do you require vegetables to be standard/uniform size and shape?

While we don’t have explicit size/shape requirements, we do ask that farmers do their best to provide “firsts”, as seconds can be difficult to process w/ some of our equipment. We are happy to discuss on a case by case basis.

For radishes can it be a mix of different types of radishes or only a single variety?

This shouldn’t be a problem. Please discuss with staff before sending.

Is it possible for smaller farms to collaborate and combine their quantities in order to meet the minimum run quantities?

Definitely, as long as both farms can coordinate delivery within the same time frame. We are also happy to help coordinate.

Are you willing and able to work with different container sizes?

For the time being, we are only sourcing 16oz (pint) jars for these value-added products. If we get enough demand for items like hot sauce and apple butter, we may consider sourcing 8oz for those. For other items, like whole crushed tomatoes, you are welcome to source your own jars if you want to go larger.

Can farmers provide their own jars?

Yes, but they (and their lid) will need to meet specific criteria to ensure they are compatible with our high-speed labeler and filling equipment.

Is the plastisol-lined lid you provide BPA free?

Yes.

Is the WMFPC able to make organic products?

Yes, all can be made organic.

Can farms have their logo on the label?

Farms have three options:

  • Use our label, which will have our logo, your logo and your farm identified on the principal display panel.
  • Use you own label (you print and provide us a roll well in advance of production, based on our specs)
  • You send us the files (logo and language) to make a simple white label with all your info). There will be a slight upcharge for the design work.

If a farm prints and supplies their own label (according to WMFPC specs) does the cost per unit go down?

No. Cost is artificially low, as we are giving ourselves a bit of free marketing. 

Do ingredients have to be listed on the label?

Yes, required by law.

Is it a requirement to have the nutritional facts on the label?

No. You will only have to include these once you reach 50k in food sales or if a buyer asks for it (ie. whole foods).

What are your produce cleanliness standards? Do you wash all the produce before processing?

All produce washed in paracetic acid solution prior to blanching and freezing. The WMFPC maintains strict Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOPs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Recall Plans, Food Defense Plans and Emergency Actions plans, all of which ensure food safety and product quality.

Do you sometimes reject produce for being too dirty?

Unprecedented, but possible. 

Are samples available?

Yes, for some products. Call us with questions.

What are your scheduling lead times and how flexible are you?

As discussed, late summer and fall are very busy, but we are going to do our best to offer flexible scheduling for the farmer value add program.

Is your winter scheduling more flexible?

Yes!

Is there funding available?

There is funding for food and farm business available via the PVGrows Investment Fund. More info here.

There is also funding through CISA. More info here.

Flash Freezing Options for Farms

The WMFPC can flash freeze a variety of crops, including bell pepper, broccoli floret, blueberry, strawberry, hot peppers, summer squashes and some root veg. We generally pack frozen veggies into 16oz/1lb retail packs for farmers to sell at farm stands, but pack size can vary. We will mock up a simple label for you to review prior to production. Contact Kate for details: katem@fccdc.org.