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Growing business at Quesnel food hub

An open house was held earlier this week at the Sprout Kitchen

An incubator for food entrepreneurs is looking to grow in Quesnel.

The Sprout Kitchen Food Hub and Business Incubator held an open house on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the facility on Marsh Drive, which is equipped with a wide range of cooking and food processing equipment.

“The food hub has been here now for just over a year but not a lot of people really seem to know much about it,” said kitchen manager Kate Patterson.

Entrepreneurs can use the commercial kitchen space to make various products such as baked, canned, frozen, dehydrated and packaged foods. Co-packing services, including packaging and labelling are also available.

Currently, the Sprout Kitchen is used full-time for producing and packaging handmade baked crackers by Hixon Falls Company and gluten-free and plant-based baking mixes by Melissa’s Klassy Kitchen.

It is also utilized by the Quesnel GreenHope Society, which operates a food rescue diverting edible food from grocery stores destined for the landfill to families and people in need.

This past summer, Patterson teamed up with kitchen assistant Jamie Loewen to launch Spent Grain-ola, which is made from the grain left over at the end of the brewing process and is sourced from local brewery Barkerville Brewing Co.

“It just helps spread awareness of the kitchen and hopefully gives people ideas about what they could do,” Loewen said.

With food security becoming a rising concern, Loewen and Patterson believe the food hub and business incubator will play a crucial role.

“Seems like there is a lot of food in Quesnel that just needs to be processed and gotten out there, especially with colder winters and shorter summers to be able to grow your products in the summer and store them over the winter helps keep it more stable year-round so hopefully the Sprout Kitchen can assist with that,” Loewen said.

Patterson hopes the facility will also be able to support more local farms that are growing processable products, such as her own west of Quesnel by Baker Creek.

“Ideally, our farm as well will use this space at some point once we grow to the size where we can do that,” she said.

The Sprout Kitchen is eyeing to purchase a refrigerated vehicle for a planned distribution route starting from Quesnel and Williams Lake to transport food to the hub for processing and storage and transporting finished products around the region.

Read More: Quesnel Food hub now accepting bookings

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