Small-scale food processing requires one person (or a small team) to know a lot about a variety of subjects. From biology and chemistry to health and safety - it’s a lot to absorb. But with OAFVC, you have an important ally in your quest to turn your passion for food into a food processing business.
Steps in Food Processing
Food production refers to the entire cycle, from planting and harvesting, to processing (preparing the food i.e,. canning, etc.), to shipping and marketing. Food processing refers to the actual process of preserving the food and creating products that customers can easily purchase and prepare.
The Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC), provides an affordable commercial kitchen space for food processing. The high-hygiene kitchen is temperature controlled, and the temperature can be adjusted as needed at each stage of processing.
- Washing/Sanitizing: There is a produce soak area where unprocessed fruits and vegetables are given a hygiene bath using Microkill, a bleach and alcohol free cleaner.
- Slicing/Dicing/Peeling/Shredding/Chopping: Cleaned fruits and vegetables self-load into baskets for transfer to a sorting table, where they can be chopped and packaged.
- Cooking: All gas appliances are hard piped with cast-iron or stainless-steel piping from the natural gas source to the stove. A gas-flame cooking range is also available for smaller pots. A large tilting kettle and tilting skillet are available for large batches. Double stacked convection ovens provide even heat distribution. There is also a popcorn machine.
- Other processes include: cold pressing (e.g., beet juice, safflower oil), dehydrating, centrifuge drying, and fermenting.
- Storing: The liquid nitrogen flash freezer chills much faster than other freezers and helps products maintain moisture. Cold storage holds 30 pallets total and is maintained between 3–6oC (37.4-42.8oF). The freezer holds 70 pallets. Climate-controlled dry storage or controlled tempering rooms (controls temperature and humidity of room) are also available on-site.
The Importance of Food Safety
If something goes wrong during food processing, it’s your reputation on the line. As part of food safety, packaging and labelling are also important. The OAFVC staff can advise you on food safety, food handling, packaging and labelling requirements.
Using a Commercial Kitchen for Food Processing
With the OAFVC, you can expand your food processing business without breaking the bank. And you don’t need to bring any supplies. Worried about use commitment or obligations? At the OAFVC, just book whenever it suits your schedule — once per year or once per week, whatever works for your food processing business.
Check Out Our Commercial Kitchen Equipment
To learn more about the equipment in our commercial kitchen, and how these can help your fledgling business, download this commercial kitchen mapt.