Want to start a business selling food at the farmers market? Looking to bake cookies for a cause?
Farm Fresh wants to help local food producers by providing a clear guideline of what one needs to get started and where to look.
The Open Kitchen project aims to bring transparency to the process of producing value-added foods in Rhode Island.
To become a food processor in RI you'll need
- RI Department of Health (DOH) certified kitchen.
Rhode Island Food Code specifies on page 106 what makes a kitchen up to code. If you have a facility in mind, you can search to see if it is licensed by the DOH (usually entering the Facility Name is sufficient).
- Production plan following food safety guidelines.
To find out if you are producing potentially hazardous foods:
- Inspection with the DOH Office of Food Protection.
“Food Processor” Retail License applications are available to download from DOH. Expect to pay a $120 fee unless operating as a non-profit.
- Producing canned food?
Send samples in to the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at Cornell University to be inspected for proper acid and water activity.
Kitchens "open" for rental in the Rhode Island vicinity
|Certified Kitchen||Location||Contact||Co-Pack?||Storage?||Hours available|
|Commissary Kitchen||Cranston, RI||Joe Boisvert, 401-255-9410||No||Dry, cold, limited freezer||Call for hours and pricing. Daily, weekly or monthly rates. 425 sq ft kitchen with 100 sq ft of table top workspace. Blodgett convection oven, two vulcan six burners W/ ovens, 3' flat top, 1' char broiler, walk in cooler dishwasher, ice machine, 3 bay sink, veggie sink, hobart dough mixer, refer reach ins, hobart meat slicer.|
|Hope & Main||Warren, RI||Lisa Raiola, 401-297-7294||Yes||Dry, cold, freezer||In development.
Take the needs assessment survey
|Providence, RI||Jennifer Luxmoore||No||Dry, cold||CURRENTLY FULL
Sun-Mon all day
Tue-Fri after 4pm
|Sandywoods||Tiverton, RI||Renita Mendonca, 401-935-4045||Dry, cold, freezer||Two refrigerators, a freezer, a commercial mixer, an ice machine, a six burner stove, three ovens, a griddle, and a dishwasher. Certified Food Safety Manager is on staff, so chef's and others do not necessarily need to be certified.|
|Fine Catering by Russel Morin||Attleboro, MA||Rick||No||Dry, cold, freezer||Afternoons and nights|
|Dartmouth Grange||Dartmouth, MA||Beth||No||Dry, cold, freezer||The Dartmouth Grange Shared-Use Kitchen is a 2,000 square foot facility designed to meet the needs of light, small-scale food production and other food service activities. This certified commercial kitchen features a six-burner range, conventional oven, convection ovens, 20 gallon tilting skillet, 40 gallon tilting steam jacket kettle, wet filling machine, commercial mixer, vegetable wash and prep areas, freezer, refrigerators, and dry storage area. The kitchen is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week on a first come - first served basis. Rates vary depending on equipment use and storage requirements.|
|How on Earth||Mattapoisett, MA||Laura Killingbeck, 508-758-1341||No||Dry, cold, freezer||24/7. $18-$22/hr. Mixer, oven, sauce vat and filter with tables for work space, sinks and a bathroom. There is no stove top but portable burners are possible.|
|Crop Circle Kitchen||Jamaica Plain, MA||Darnell||No||Dry, cold, freezer||Flexible|
|Western Mass. Food Processing Center||Greenfield, MA||Larry DiLuzio,
Franklin County CDC
We are always in need of additional certified kitchen sites.
If you can open your kitchen, please contact Ryan.
Maybe a Farm Kitchen is right for you?
Do you have city-water, a double-basin stainless steel sink and no animals running around the kitchen? These farms have on-site kitchens that are certified for commercial food processing. Contact them to learn more about how they did it:
|Farm||Location||Contact||Examples of what they make|
|Wishing Stone Farm||Little Compton||Skip||Pesto, salsa, pickles|
|Sweet Berry Farm||Middletown||Michelle||Ice cream, sandwiches, pizza|
|Moosup River Farm||Greene||Ingrid||Jams|
|Locust Leaf Farm||Foster||Bill||Meat cuts|
|Matunuck Oyster Farm||Matunuck||Perry||Shucking|
|Reynolds Goat Barn||North Kingstown||Melody||Milk, cheese|
- Partnerships with established certified kitchens to offer affordable rent to farmers and new users
- Training in an affordable and accessible ServSafe certification and culinary skills courses
- Links food producers to locally grown ingredients
- Guides potential producers through the process of getting a license
- Connects entrepreneurs to business training and microloans
- Provides market outlets that connect food producers with customers
Go back a few decades and RI had many certified food processing sites for food harvested from RI farms and waters. There were places for, well, you name it: canning tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, preserving fruits, making cheese and yogurt, baking and roasting, butchering meat, shucking oysters, fileting finfish. But today's reality is much spottier. As food policies guided the national and global consolidation of our food supply, local farms and food processing sites were neglected and many closed. Of those that are left, few RI processors source their food from local farms, and these days few RI farms process value-added foods because few have access to a kitchen.
The Open Kitchen project aims to expand the diversity of RI produced foods using local ingredients, thereby nourishing and providing a livelihood for more Rhode Islanders. We are also connecting with culinary training programs to provide skills support to Open Kitchen users. Our long-term goal is to open up a kitchen that is entirely focused on incubating food businesses, supporting farmers and women, immigrant and low-income entrepreneurs. In the process we will strengthen our local food system and food security.
- For farmers: Many farmers want to produce value-added products but do not have access to a certified kitchen or the time to cook during the growing season. This certified kitchen will link farmers to people who want to process food. If a farmer has an overabundance of perishable produce they may not be able to sell it all before it goes bad. With an open kitchen and trained cooks at the stovetop those fruits and veggies can be made into value-added products. Tomatoes can be turned into shelf-stable sauce, benefiting local growers and food producers, while increasing eaters’ access to local food year round.
- For entrepreneurs: The obstacles associated with starting a food production business are staggering. There are start-up costs for ingredients, equipment, and licensing and the trouble of finding a certified kitchen and a consistent customer base. In Rhode Island there is no legal way to cook food in your home and sell it. Many low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs lack access to the necessary capital and tools to start a food business.
- For certified kitchen owners: This is an opportunity for extra income for kitchen owners who can rent their underused kitchen space, usually during off-hours for the main business. Offering your kitchen space for a small rental rate is of great benefit to new businesses with a great product but without the right equipment or production space. In fact, finding an affordable kitchen rental may be the only way these businesses can get off the ground. You'll want to make sure ground rules are in place so that both parties have the same expectations about how the kitchen will be used and the state the kitchen will be in when lessees arrive and when they leave.
We envision vibrant markets with a variety of prepared foods, from salsas to samosas, made locally with local ingredients. These markets will better represent our diverse neighborhoods and connect new food producers to customers. These prepared foods will use the freshest, best-tasting ingredients and provide a new avenue for food lovers to support local producers. Farmers will be able to process/preserve the fresh foods they grow and diversify the products they offer to provide more consistent income throughout the year.