About the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center
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.
If you would like to tour the Food Processing Center, please see our Visitor Policy.
|Damien Vieu, Production/Operations Supervisor|
|Evan Manning, Production/Operations Team Leader|
|John Riggleman, FPC Production/Operations Worker|
|Ari Rodriguez, Production Worker|
|Peter Freisem, Production Worker|
|Jason Noyes, Production/Operations Worker|
Using the FPC
Using the Western Mass Food Processing Center
FOOD BUSINESS INCUBATOR
“Another Benefit of working out of the Food Processing Center is the community. We share ideas and support each other in our ventures. The Manager helps us with production tips, trains us on the equipment and offers advice on efficient production set-up. With the help I’ve received, my business has doubled each year for the past few years.”– Food Processing Center Producer
The Center can help you overcome the obstacles to commercial success and guide you through the process of bringing your product to market. With the resources of the Center and the support of the Franklin County CDC behind your business, you can expect support at any stage of your business growth.
If you’re thinking about launching a food-based business, check out How to launch your food venture.
We offer an Information Session on the THIRD Tuesday of the month at 10 am for food producers interested in using the Center. This is the first step in learning what we offer at the Center, services at the FCCDC, and product development considerations. We also include a tour of the facility. Register here or call 413-774-7204 ext 100 to sign up.
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.
After you attend an information session, you will work with our Food Systems Program Manager and Director of Operations to work on an individualized plan based on the status of your product development and business plan. Barring special circumstances or farmers utilizing our Pioneer Valley Vegetable Program, every new producer is required to complete a prototype. This is an important part in the research and development in the scale up and commercialization of your food product.
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.
HOW WILL THE CENTER SUPPORT MY BUSINESS?
From start-up to market, the Center can work with you to provide every advantage as you launch or expand your business:
- Product Feasibility, Prototyping and Commercial Process Development and Scale Up
- Business Planning
- Rental Production Space
- Licensing Navigation and Support
- Marketing Support
- Distribution Support
- Fully developed and implemented GMPs and SOPS with Certified PCQI on site
HELPFUL SOLUTIONS FOR FOOD PRODUCERS AND ENTREPRENEURS
- 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
Technical assistance, business planning, product development, distribution resources and manufacturing space for specialty and organic food producers. Our facility supports bottled and shelf-stable prepared foods, acidified foods, fresh-pack, and IQF freezing.
- Retail Operations
Facilities and support for catering, special events, mobile food service, and other direct-to-consumer food production.
- Copack Solutions
Copack, or contract manufacturing, services are available through our program. We will work with you to develop commercial production quantities of product under your label.
- Professional Development
Classes, workshops, and seminars designed to help start your business and expand your capabilities as a food entrepreneur.
COMMUNITY KITCHEN WEBINAR:
(as of December 2019)
Many of these fine businesses have grown too big for our facility!
|Augmon McQuay Enterprises- Unk's Island Blendz|
|Blue Heron Restaurant|
|Boston Burger Co|
|Feliciano Puerto Rican Specialities|
|The Dawg Waggin'|
|Deborah's Kitchen, Inc.|
|Emmaline's Hot Sauce|
|Four Leaf Clover Restaurant|
|Little Ducks Organics|
|Peter's Old Fashioned Pies|
|Seven Hills Pasta Co.|
|South Quabbin Food Co. Jay's Wicked|
|Shire City Herbals|
|Shootflying Hill Sauce Co|
|The Olive Table|
Equipment and Floor Plan
2-125 gallon Vulcan steam jacketed kettles
1- 100-gallon Market Forge steam jacketed kettle
2- 60 gallon Vulcan steam jacketed kettles
1- 40-gallon Market Forge steam jacketed kettle
1- 49-gallon Legion Tilt Skillet
1- 10-foot Martin Biron Liquid Nitrogen IQF Tunnel
1- Hobart UW 50 Automatic Warewashing Machine
1- Ingersoll Rand Variable Speed Rotary Screw Air Compressor-
1- Tronics Series 3- Automated Wrap Labeling System
Other featured Equipment:
2- Simplex 1-head Semi-Automatic Piston Fillers
1- Mori-Tem Moderna B6—6 head Manual Gravity Filler
1- Liquid Filling Solutions 4- head Semi-Automatic Overflow Filler with Sumake Capper
1- Logical Machines Model S-4 Vibratory Check Weight Filler
1- TAL Round Product Label Applicator
1- Auto Labe Round Product Label Applicator
1- Vulcan Electric Convection Oven
1- Robot Coupe Blixer 60
1- Hobart Buffalo Chopper
1- Urschel Model GKA High Volume Dicer
1- Robot Coupe ClL-60 Cutting Machine
1- Hobart- 40 Qt VCM
1- Hobart – 60 Qt Mixer
1 Langsenkamp Paddle Pulper
1- Allard Four Roll Barrel Washer/Scrubber/Peeler
2- Vac Master Chamber Vacuum Sealers
1- Cleveland CE-3000-HVE Continuous Band Sealer
Locally Grown, Flash Frozen Fresh
The Valley Vegetable Venture, a program owned and operated by the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, is a solution to market extension for farmers and access to healthy local food year round. We work with farmers, distributors, and institutions to facilitate big impact frozen and value added products for year round sales and access.
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.
The following farms have participated in the Valley Vegetable program:
- Czajkowski Farm, Hadley MA
- Long Plain Farm, Whately MA
- Harvest Farm, Whately MA
- David Mokrzecki Farm, Hadley MA
- Plainville Farm, Hadley MA
- Wyscoki Farm, Amherst MA
- Apex Orchards, Shelburne Falls MA
- Bardwell Farm, Hatfield MA
- Simple Gifts Farm, Amherst MA
- Harlow Farm, Westminster VT
- Stillman Farm, New Braintree MA
- Red Fire Farm, Granby MA
- Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton MA
Each box or bag of vegetables is marked with the farm or origin for complete transparency of the supply chain for the end consumer.
Some farmers choose to sell produce to the program directly. For select items, the program will purchase in bulk, process, and sell to institutions. Currently, this is primarily k-12 schools in Massachusetts. For most items, we can take seconds, or “ugly” produce that may otherwise not be marketable.
Other farmers choose to utilize our value added co-packing for their winter CSAs, Farm Stands, and other year round markets.
If you are interested in IQF, or other value added products, please contact:
Food Business Coordinator
413-774-7204 ext 104
413-774-7204 ext 102
Interested in learning more about our Valley Vegetable program? Looking for price lists, available produce and more?
Contact Kate Venne, Food Business Coordinator at email@example.com or 413-774-7204 x 104
MA Farm to Institution
Massachusetts Farm to Institution Project
Since 2001, The Western Mass Food Processing Center has helped growers and food entrepreneurs add value to food grown in our region. In 2009, the FPC launched the Extended Season program in order to increase our region’s capacity to lightly process fruits and vegetables (freezing and canning) in order to make local food accessible year-round.
In addition to adding new equipment to our processing line, we are working closely with farmers and wholesale and retail purchasers to develop a regional value-chain for frozen and canned products that offers a fair price to farmers and a competitive price to purchasers.
Our first, and perhaps most important, purchasers have been local schools and hospitals, as we believe that healthful food should be accessible to everyone. We have been working closely with Massachusetts Farm to School program to build on their successes. We also work with local CSAs to process produce for winter shares and markets.
With assistance from The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, CISA, MDAR, and USDA Rural Development, we have purchased new, efficient equipment specifically designed for freezing fruits and vegetables. We anticipate freezing up to 100,000 lbs of regional produce for schools and hospitals annually for consumption in local schools.
- To make a contribution to this project, please click here
- If you are a grower interested in participating in the Extended Season Farm to Institution Program, please contact John Waite
For more information, please contact John Waite at 413-774-7204 ext. 102