The 15,000-square-foot Northumberland Niche Food Processing Facility, in Colborne, will be available for small-batch processing, packaging and storage of food by summer 2014.
The idea for the plant is from a partnership between the County of Northumberland and the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP).
Refrigeration and freezer cold storage
Arlene Dorland, president of the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture said the facility will support second-source revenues from farming operations with a focus on fruits and vegetables.
“Having a processing facility nearby saves farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars in value-adding equipment costs, encourages crop diversification and demonstrates to young people how farming is the past, present and future of employment in Canada,” she told The Northumberland News.
The plant is available for rental, refrigeration and freezer cold storage as well as having an educational and meeting space.
Extend seasonality of fruits
Food producers can extend the seasonality of locally-grown fruits and vegetables through its packaging and freezing processes.
The construction of the facility is partly funded by a $200k Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) grant to buy processing equipment.
Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Prince Edward/Lennox and Addington, Trenval, and North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin CFDCs provided an additional $20k in non-repayable contributions to match Northumberland CFDC’s $100k for the purchase of equipment.
Farmers can explore secondary sources of income by processing their own products into ready-to-eat jams, jellies and sauces.
Northumberland County will lease the facility from Real Flex, which is funding the construction of the plant and will own it.