Philmont Cooperative Opens Commercial Rental Kitchen
PHILMONT, NY—The glint of shiny, metal, kitchen equipment shines through the welcoming plate-glass windows at 116 Main St—the home of the Philmont Cooperative. The presence of the professional-grade equipment signals that the Co-Op has begun its first phase: a 20C food processing kitchen.
This state of the art commercial kitchen is equipped with convection ovens, proofing ovens, a huge commercial stand mixer, an enormous Vulcan range, heavy duty range hoods and sinks, plus storage space for dry goods, refrigerated and frozen foods too. It can be rented out by both established and emerging food businesses such as chefs, cooks, bakers and producers of anything from soups and salsa to full-scale catering events. The first food producers, a bread baker and a jam maker, have already begun cooking. Opening the kitchen is the Co-Op’s initial phase of business.
Utilizing the bounty of local farms, the Philmont Cooperative is considered a producer/consumer direct market. Simply put, they are committed to using ingredients provided by local farmers. When a food producer uses the 20C processing kitchen, they agree to obtain as many raw ingredients as possible from local farmer-members of the Co-Op. This innovative food system model helps sustain the local farm economy while providing healthy food choices in a “food desert”, by directly linking farms to food manufacturers to consumers.
The Philmont Co-Op has also opened its familiar green food truck in the parking lot, officially called the Curbside Cafe, serving delicious custom-prepared snacks, beverages and meals. On Fridays from 4-7 pm, the Co-Op also runs a farmer’s market, featuring fresh seasonal goods from local farms. The cafe and market will move into the building when the weather gets cold and have expanded hours.
The Philmont Co-Op focuses on strengthening the link between local food producers and consumers. Many of the products will be made or grown within New York State, and some right in Columbia County. The aim is to recreate an indoor version of the farmer’s market experience. The market and indoor cafe will sell items such as fresh and frozen local vegetables, meats, dairy, preserves and pantry staples. The cafe will have a casual corner for a cup of coffee, a quick breakfast or healthy lunch, and plans are in the works for take-home meals too. A welcoming and much-needed community space has taken shape.
When Stewart’s Shops donated the building to Philmont Beautification, Inc, in 2012,* local residents expressed interest in a market and cafe to bring affordable and nutritious foods to the area. After years of planning, securing grants, fundraising, volunteering and hard work by many local residents, the renovations are complete and the building and kitchen have passed all necessary inspections.
By returning profits and savings locally, the positive economic impacts will continue to strengthen the region’s food security, and help to lay the groundwork for building a sustainable future in Philmont and the surrounding area. Co-Op director Elizabeth Angello can be reached at 518-227-6393.
* ABOUT PB INC : The Philmont Co-op would not be a reality without the major contribution and hard work of Philmont Beautification, Inc., (PBI) a Philmont based non-profit organization successfully integrating Housing, Local Food, Small Business, and Special Projects with community collaborations to implement revitalization and renewal in the Village of Philmont and surrounding areas. To learn more about PBI and current projects visit their website, http://www.pbinc.org.