Food Processing

About the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center

Mission

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 health and safety guidelines

 

Using the FPC

Using the Western Mass Food Processing Center

FOOD BUSINESS INCUBATOR 

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 rates 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.

WHAT WILL I FIND AT THE CENTER?

You will find a fully equipped modern production facility that meets federal, state, and local standards. Here is a brief look at what else you will find at the Center:

  • Two 100-gallon kettles

    1 – 100-gallon steam jacketed kettle
  • 1 – 100-gallon steam jacketed kettle with lightning mixer
  • Hot-bottling/filling Semi-Automation
  • 2- 40-gallon steam jacketed kettles
  • 1 – 40-gallon tilting steam jacketed kettle
  • 49-gallon tilting skittle
  • Large capacity mixers, choppers, shredders
  • Semi-automatic label applicators
  • Dry, cold and frozen storage
  • Shipping & receiving area w/loading dock
  • Peter stirs hot fudge in the new 40-gallon market forge kettle

    24-hour secure access
  • Vegetable wash and prep areas
  • Complete sanitation program and equipment
  • Shared office space and equipment
  • much more

Producers

Producers' Area

Food Processing Center Producers’ Area

Go to Online Scheduling                                                Go to Online BillPay

 

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 

 

VenuesFixed Equipment
Large Kettle Area49-gallonTilting Skittle with 1- 1/2" Tangent Draw Off Valve
100 Gal. Steam Kettle with 2" Tangent Draw Off Valve & Lightnin Mixer
100 Gal. Steam Kettle with 3" Tangent Draw Off Valve
Small Kettle Area40 Gal. Steam Jacketed Kettle with 1- 1/2" Tangent Draw Off Valve
40 Gal. Steam Jacketed Kettle with 2" Tangent Draw Off Valve
40 Gal. Tilting Steam Jacketed Kettle with 2" Draw Off Valve
Chop/Mix/Prep AreaThree Bay Prep Sink (CT2)
60 Qt. Mixer
Vegetable Wash/Cool/Prep2 Bay Prep Sink
Prep Space 32 Bay Prep Sink
  

FPC NEW Set upjpeg

FPC Portable Equipment

  • Hobart 60 Qt. Mixer & Attachments
  • Simplex Filler w/ agitated hopper
  • Simplex Filler w/ cone shaped hopper
  • SPX Positive Displacement Pump
  • HCM 45 QT Food Processor
  • Cardinal Deteco Scale- 10 lb
  • 2-Defender 3000 Scales (Max 150lbs)
  • Robot Coupe:
    • a) Model C80 Pulp Extractor
    • b) Model R302V Food Processor
    • c) CL 60 Series “D” High Volume Dicer, Slicer, Shredder
    • d) MP 80 turbo immersion blender
    • e) Blixer 60
  • VACMASTER Vacuum Sealing Machines (2)
  • Tomato Miller -800 Lb per hour
  • Urschel Model GKA Dicer
  • Stainless Prep Tables on Wheels
  • Auto Labe Labeler
  • Universal Air Labeler
  • Delta Heat Gun
  • Uline Heat Sealer
  • Transport Carts
  • Pallet Jack
  • Fork Lift
  • 30 Gallon Shop Vacuum
  • PH Testing Equipment
  • BRIX Measurement Equipment

Pioneer Valley Vegetables

Pioneer Valley Vegetables

PVVVboxLocally Grown, Flash Frozen Fresh

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:

Joanna Benoit
Food Systems Program Manager
413-774-7204 ext 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

 

Contact

Joanna Benoit: joannab@fccdc.org (413)774-7204 ext. 104
Liz Buxton: lizb@fccdc.org (413)774-7204 ext. 110