Last fall Jori Wekin, a local entrepreneur and food consultant, and a partner purchased the former Lincoln Building at the corner of Route 22 and Middle Road in Essex, NY. They plan to renovate and turn it into a food processing facility that will increase the region’s food processing and distribution capabilities.
A commercial kitchen will be added to the building and will be available for people to rent for multiple purposes including processing food, catering, instructional classes, and potentially other uses as well. Some of the equipment that will be installed includes large steam kettles, multi-ovens and ranges, a food mill pulper, and a bottle filler.
“It will be in the same vein as the Grange kitchen, but will include processing equipment, storage and refrigeration with anticipation of doing more bulk ordering and different aspects of food processing,” said Wekin.
The Whallonsburg Grange’s kitchen has, and continues to be, an effective incubator for fledgling businesses, said Wekin. But the new facility, which has the working name of Fruition Orchards, is set up for larger quantity and scale and will act [as] the next stepping stone for established, medium-sized businesses. (Denpubs)
The creation of this facility is a natural progression of burgeoning agricultural, local food and gastrotourism trends in the Champlain Valley. There is a need for a space with the ability for larger scale processing. If local farms don’t have the option of processing their crops for longer shelf life and opening up retail opportunities for those goods, then whenever there is a bumper crop what the farmers can’t process for themselves may end up going to animals or the compost pile.
Eventually, said Wekin, the end game will include distribution and storage, two areas that members of the region’s [agricultural] community have said are crucial to completing regional food loops. (Denpubs)
Local agricultural marketing organization Adirondack Harvest is encouraged by Jori’s forward-thinking and the plans for this new processing facility, and they are excited to support the venture.
Jori is hoping to have the facility up and running by early summer.
- CATS Interpretive Hike: Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Champlain Valley (essexny.us)
- Vermont Sail Freight Project (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Why I Give to Lakeside School (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Community Garden (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Gastro Tourism in Essex, New York (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)