In anticipation of the new kitchen and production line, the Farmhub is investigating processing crop abundance. Our goal is to identify types of crops that would otherwise go to waste (perhaps not grade-A quality) and create new products with them. We have been working with retailers to determine products that would fit their needs. We aim to create a pathway for Canada GAP certified crops (on farm health and safety protocols needed to access larger markets like institutions and grocers) to be washed at the hub (salad bubble, salad spinner, root vegetable washer) and move to the kitchen for more processing. This will also make it easier for all processors to use local produce. Farmers please let us know what you think of the idea by filling out this survey.
Our first processing trial is the Pesto Project. In April we ran a test batch of arugula pesto that was extremely well received by retail customers. Our second trial of seasonal pesto will again feature arugula and we are aiming to make a batch in early June. We are looking for garlic scapes from local farms so if you have extras let Colleen know (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Over the summer we will move on to basil pesto! And in the fall? Well we shall see what's growing and what our Chef Chris Hammer comes up with! The pestos will only be available in season and we think customers are ready for more seasonal eating!
The Victoria Community Food Hub Society (a sister charity to CRFAIR) has received funding from the Ministry of Agriculture Food Hub Network with support from the City of Victoria to implement a food hub in the Capital Region. The South Island Farmhub is stage one and now we have the capacity to build out the processing kitchens at the same site. For more information click here.
Food Hubs provide physical infrastructure to bridge connections between small scale producers, farmers, processors and larger markets. Enabling food processors and farmers (our producers) to expand production through shared-infrastructure allows for increased production capacity, and stimulates ability to reach larger local markets.
If you are a local food producer, this is an opportunity for you to scale up your business and/or branch out into processing. As we are still designing the processing space, you can provide input on what you would like it to look like by filling out this survey before May 27th.