Squash Blossom Farm is an artisan farmstead devoted to Local Food, Local Art & Local Music. We are small (only 10 acres) but diverse! Everything we do at Squash Blossom Farm involves art, music and food, but especially food: Raising chickens for both eggs and meat, cows for both dairy and beef, turkeys, bees, growing vegetables and herbs for our CSA and for sale to restaurants; baking wood-fired sourdough bread and delectable pastries; hosting pizza parties; making cheeses; gathering wild foods. However, we are limited to selling relatively small quantities of prepared food at the Farmers Market.
Building a commercial kitchen will allow us to expand sales of our breads and pastries beyond our current Farmers Market venue -- we would be able to sell our artisan baked goods on our farm and through local co-ops, grocers and restaurants. We could add a bread share option to our CSA boxes!
In addition to the bakery operation, a certified kitchen would allow us to host intimate farm dinners and larger events on the farm. We could invite experts to teach classes in food preservation, ethnic cuisines, and fermented foods. Our certified farm kitchen could provide space for other local food entrepreneurs to expand their operations. We would be able to provide sustenance to students taking classes at the farm and could serve food and beverages to the people who come to the farm to enjoy live music on weekends.
We already have the perfect space in the front of our classic barn to create a certified kitchen. However, satisfying all the modern-day code requirements in a 1914 building is a challenge and it is costly. A large portion of the cost will be the required new well and septic system. If successful, the Kickstarter campaign will provide about a quarter of our funding; we will also borrow from our 401K account and take out a loan.
Squash Blossom Farm operates using permaculture principles, so it is important to us that our kitchen project is designed for sustainability. Most of the kitchen's electricity will be produced by the 36 photovoltaic solar panels already installed on the south-facing barn roof. The kitchen will be energy-efficient and use environmentally friendly materials. It will be designed for flexibility so that other local food entrepreneurs can rent it during our off hours, making maximum use of the space and investment, and nurturing a community of local food entrepreneurs.
Risks and challenges
The overall project includes installing a new well and septic system, preparing space in our barn for the kitchen, and equipping it with commercial grade food service equipment. Funding will come from loans, grants, our own pocketbook, and the Kickstarter Campaign. Applications for the loans and grants have been started, and their approval process will run concurrently with the campaign.
There is always a risk of unknown conditions underground or hidden within the existing building construction, and the final design may need to be adjusted to deal with these. As an artist and architect by training, we have the creativity and skills to address these contingencies.
- (30 days)