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.

Food Processing Center Team

Liz Buxton, Director of Operations, 413-774-7204, X110
Kate Minifie, Food Business Coordinator, 413-774-7204, X104
Damien Vieu, Production/Operations Supervisor
Evan Manning, Production/Operations Team Leader
Jason Noyes, Production/Operations Worker
Peter Freisem, Production Worker
Ari Rodriguez, Production Worker
David Lopez, 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.

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.

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.

New Client Info

Welcome! Let’s get started.

An Information Session is held on the THIRD Tuesday of every month from 10-11:30am. 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.

Note: As of March 2020, all of our Information Sessions have moved online.

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

 


Current Producers' Area

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

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

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

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

Valley Veggies

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 (link). 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 katem@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
  • Brattleboro Food Co-op
  • Sweet Beet Market
  • Warner Public Market
  • Stonewall Farm
  • Bardwell Farmstand

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

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
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.