Food Processing

About the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center

About

Our Mission

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.

FPC Team

Liz Buxton, Food Processing Center Operations Director 413-774-7204, X110
Kate Venne, Food Business Coordinator413-774-7204, X104
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
Director of Operations, Liz Buxton
Director of Operations, Liz Buxton

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.

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 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.

Services

Our Services

Mixing it up in the Food Processing Center
Mixing it up in the Food Processing Center

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:

Producers

 

Current Members

(as of December 2019)

Producer ClientsCross Dock/Storage Clients
Apex Orchards Appalachian Naturals
Barts Snows Nice Cream  Artisan Beverage
Beancake Company Australis Aquaculture
Benson Place Bascom Farm
Czajkowski FarmBig Picture Beef
East Coast Kelp Farm Bostrom Farm-
Egunsi Foods Clarkdale Fruit Farm
Firehouse FudgeEquinox Food Brokers
Full Moon Ghee Maple Mama
Herrell's Development Co New Salem Perserves
Hot Harry’s Real Pickles
The Hot Chocolate Run for Safe PassageSimplot Foods
Jay's Wicked Vermont Salumi
Just RootsWest County Cider
Kitchen Garden Farm
Kringle Farm Table
Maple Craft Foods
Merrimack Valley Foods
Old Friends Farm*
Oxen Hill Farm
Outlook Farm
Park Hill Orchard
Phoenix Fruit Farm
Plant Colors Group
Polski Sklep
Red Fire Farm
Saw Mill Site Farm
Simple Gifts Farm
Smokey Divas-
Stillman Farm
Top This-
Valley Vegetables
Vermont Elderberry
Vibesman Foods
Whole Harmony
The Yerbary-NC

Past Members

Many of these fine businesses have grown too big for our facility!

Past Members 
Appalachian Naturals
Atkins Farm
AVSI Partners
Augmon McQuay Enterprises- Unk's Island Blendz
Blue Heron Restaurant
Boston Burger Co
Chubby's BBQ
Feliciano Puerto Rican Specialities
The Dawg Waggin'
Deborah's Kitchen, Inc.
Emmaline's Hot Sauce
Four Leaf Clover Restaurant
Goldthread Herbs
Hillside Pizza
Kobe
Little Ducks Organics
Makomas
Mushroom Revival
Nini's Ristorante
Ooma Tesoro's
Peter's Old Fashioned Pies
Phatboyz BBQ
Plentiful
Real Pickles
Sasha's Cuisine
Sassy Sauces
Seven Hills Pasta Co.
South Quabbin Food Co. Jay's Wicked
Spiker's LLC-Shrubs
Shire City Herbals
Shootflying Hill Sauce Co
The Olive Table
Zoni Foods

Producers' Area

Food Processing Center Producers’ Area

For more information about using the Food Processing Center Scheduling Software, call Liz Buxton at 413-774-7204 ext 110 or John Waite, at 413-774-7204 ext. 102

Equipment and Floor Plan

Fixed Equipment:

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

Pioneer Valley Vegetables

Pioneer Valley Vegetables

Locally Grown, Flash Frozen Fresh

Broccoli Florets
Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) Machine “mouth”

The Pioneer 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.

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 Farmers

The following farms have participated in the Pioneer 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

Transparency

Each box or bag of vegetables is marked with the farm or origin for complete transparency of the supply chain for the end consumer.

For Farmers

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:

John Waite
Executive Director

413-774-7204 ext 102

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