21 Acres Incubator Kitchen Preliminary Information from Deb@21Acres.org
Thank you for inquiring about the 21 Acres Incubator Kitchen. I would be happy to chat with you about our kitchen in a future phone call – the first thing for you to know/answer is whether your product fits into to the 21 Acres mission to provide folks with education about our local economy, supporting our local farms who grow in a sustainable manner, and helping consumers know they can help solve climate challenges through their food purchases.
• We aren’t a kitchen for the sake of renting a kitchen; we are here to support local farms/farmers and to educate by purchasing, using, and enjoying local, seasonal, sustainably grown food.
• Due to zoning, and also scheduling, we are unable to rent to caterers or food trucks.
• We do not have warehousing, refrigerator, or freezer storage.
• We aren’t a suitable kitchen for a meat product.
• The variable nature of our rental schedule (due to classes and events held in our kitchen), means we may be an unsuitable kitchen for a food product that must be made on a particular day or within a particular timeframe (for example, we are not suited for someone who wants to prepare a lunch box item that will need to be made between particular hours on a particular day, because we can’t guarantee same time each day use).
• We are an Incubator; not intended for high production. There are no fillers or labeling machines; there is no high-speed production equipment.
• Our Incubator Kitchen, is suited to a processor who is aligned with the 21 Acres mission and who wants to create a quality product using primarily locally sourced, sustainably grown (aka organically grown) ingredients.
• Our Incubator Kitchen is well-suited for a processor making a single product, that isn’t refrigerated, with processing that does not need to be tied to a very strict production day/time, and for a processor who can provide their own warehousing of ingredients, and finished product.
IF THIS STATEMENT DESCRIBES YOU/YOUR PRODUCT, then please read on:
We do suggest, if you are starting a small business that you carefully research how to attack that– a good place to start is with the Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start-business.. If you haven’t done so, please take the time to read and work through creating a business plan – the kitchen where your product will be created is almost the smallest detail you need to take care of.
We support incubator clients who are using ingredients that are grown/sourced locally; that said, when we do use an ingredient such as a spice, coffee, chocolate, we concentrate on how the item is grown – we ask whether it is sustainably grown/organic, is it fair trade, etc., and finally, if not locally grown, can it at least be sourced from a local supplier so that it is still in some way supporting the local economy.
So– where are you sourcing ingredients and packaging from?
• Are you committed to using ingredients that are grown and sourced in a way that is least harmful to the earth and most helpful to the person who consumes them?
• Are you committed to using sustainable packaging? (We don’t allow plastic packaging that is not compostable.)
**If the answer to both these questions is yes, then we could potentially be the kitchen for you.
- If the answer is that you may like to go there in the future, but can’t commit at this time either monetarily or is no because you already have your recipe/sourcing and don’t want to think about any other ingredients or packaging, then we may not be the kitchen for you and we wish you the best of luck with your product.
The Next Thing You May Be Wondering and Need to Know!
• If you rent our kitchen, you can use the equipment we have - stoves/ovens, induction burners, pots/pans, bowls, sheet pans, etc. Two workers are allowed for each product.
• If you need specialized equipment, you could bring it in – we are not able to house/store any large equipment for you, so it needs to be portable.
• We have very limited availability for any equipment that requires 220V power. We don’t have refrigerated storage, so a product can be made, but if it needs refrigeration (at least more than a temporary shelf in a small fridge), the processor needs to figure out/provide appropriate storage (which can be done with coolers and such).
• We don’t have any warehousing, but again, that can be worked around – for example you can get a closet in your home licensed as a warehouse.
• We are very particular about what goes down our drains (because we are treating all of our gray water on site); so if your product needs some kind of chemical rinse, we may not be able to accommodate you.
If I haven’t scared you off yet, here is our plan for a processor to use our kitchen:
• We start with a Q&A session with an expert in the field.
• From that hour you will be able to glean much helpful information (we charge $35 for that).