June 18, 2024


General Evolution

Sunshine Kitchen area co-op in Fort Pierce assists foods entrepreneurs cook dinner

Five times a week, Beverly Francis cooks foods for youngsters in daycare centers across the Treasure Coast. On weekends, she spices points up with a specific-situations meals truck that serves chicken curry, jalapeno meatballs and other Haitian-Caribbean favorites. 

She’s capable to do it all by having accessibility to a professionally equipped commercial kitchen, which she rents for $17 an hour. She’s a person of about two dozen food entrepreneurs who share place at the Sunshine Kitchen area co-op in St. Lucie County.

 “It would cost us well about $200,000 for the condition-of-the-art tools they have offered for us,” mentioned Francis, co-operator of Bee’s Kitchen area and Catering with her fiance, Stutson Gary.

That was the thought behind Sunshine Kitchen area, said Regina McCants, coordinator for the 10,000-square-foot food organization incubator owned by St. Lucie County, which is portion of the Treasure Coast Research Park off Rock Highway west of Fort Pierce. 

Regina McCants, coordinator at the Treasure Coast Research Park's Sunshine Kitchen in St. Lucie County.

Sunshine Kitchen

The kitchen, which opened in 2018, provides stoves, kitchen devices this sort of as meat slicers, foodstuff preparing places, storage place and office area for its tenants.

The county paid $109,016 to operate the kitchen in fiscal calendar year 2020, partly offset by $74,617 in revenue produced from the tenants’ lease payments.                    

The tenants shell out a $250 one-time deposit, then $17 an hour for the scheduled-time use of the facility, McCants claimed. With two kitchens offered, the tenants use a site to pencil in the time they need to have and concur to clean up up correctly for the team that follows.

The kitchen added COVID-19 precautions very last calendar year, necessitating masks and temperature checks for any individual coming into the facility. 

The plan for the kitchen was based on place of work incubators, where a number of startup enterprises share a spot and get source support there, McCants stated. The county took the concept, but used it to the foodstuff business. 

Beverly Francis (left), co-owner of Bee's Kitchen & Catering, along with fiance Stutson Gary prepare meals for local Treasure Coast daycares on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, at Sunshine Kitchen, a co-op commercial kitchen in St. Lucie County. The large professionally equipped kitchen allows the couple to work on a larger scale and has allowed them to network with other businesses.

Can they stand the heat? 

Francis required to go after her adore of cooking and give certified catering for weddings and exclusive events for her fellow Haitian Americans on the Treasure Coastline. 

“A ton of folks consider they can cook dinner, but they can come right here, exam their merchandise and see if they can construct it to a thing that they can just take out on their personal,” McCants stated.