BELFAST, Maine — A major food processing facility that has been in the works for months has reached a $2 million financial goal and should be up and running by the first of July.
Jan Anderson, co-owner of Coastal Farms Food Processing, announced this week to the Belfast City Council that the 50,000 square foot space will be open for business by then.
“I’m anxious and excited and exhausted. I have a lot to do,” she said in a telephone conversation Thursday morning.
She and business partner Wayne Snyder have raised $1 million in private investment and last week closed its stock offering. They also have an agreement from Farm Credit Maine for $1 million in financing.
Belfast Development Director Thomas Kittredge said Thursday that the business, located in the vacant warehouse that was formerly home to Moss Inc., will be good for the city.
“The agricultural sector is a very important sector of our economy. Not just in Belfast, but the surrounding areas,” he said. “We think this is the kind of project that’s going to strengthen our economy.”
According to the business plan for Coastal Farms Food Processing, farmers and growers from within a 50-mile radius of Belfast will be encouraged to use the tunnel freezers, kitchens and processing space to add value to their products.
There are 1,652 farms within that geographic circle which sold $463,000 worth of produce by direct sale in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service.
But Anderson has said that many of the crops grown on those farms can’t be marketed directly to consumers through farmers markets and roadside stands. They need to be processed first.
She and Snyder already have customers signed up to use the kitchens and freezers.
“It’s a great project,” Kittredge said. “We really want them to succeed.”