The building that will house a new fresh vegetable processing facility located at Cloud Mountain Farm Center in Whatcom County is near completion. This new facility is several years in the making and is the result of a collaborative effort of NABC and Cloud Mountain, and funded with the support of the Whatcom Community Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Washington State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant program, and the Washington State Department of Commerce. NABC purchased the equipment to be used in the facility with grant funding secured through the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant program.
The facility initially will focus on the processing of locally produced broccoli (florets), cabbage (shredded and slaw mixes), cauliflower (florets), carrots (sticks, coins, and shredded), lettuce (chopped and shredded), and salad mixes. Letters of support for this project were provided by the Bellingham School District, Cedarville Farm, Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Community Food Co-op, Growing Washington, Hopewell Farm, Peace Health Medical Centers Food and Nutrition Services, Western Washington University Dining Services (Aramark), Whatcom Community Foundation, Whatcom Farm to School, and the Whatcom County Executive.
NABC and Cloud Mountain Farm Center will work together to install and test the equipment beginning this month and continuing on through the winter. As a part of this process standard operating procedures will be written to support the WSDA inspection and licensing of the plant, as well as to develop staff training manuals. The plant is expected to go into full operation for the 2014 growing season.
Cloud Mountain Farm Center hosted a Mobile Farm Tour presented by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and Whatcom Farm to School on Tuesday, October 22. The event was attended by school food service directors, farmers, and supporting agencies/entities who were interested in learning more about this new facility.