Andrea Corpolongo Smith, co-owner of the Ontonagon-based community supported agriculture farm, Wintergreen Farm, is taking on a new project: converting the old Candlelight Inn restaurant into a small food processing facility named Wintergreen Foods.
The storefront was purchased just two weeks ago, and she already has big plans to add more local farms for which to package and sell food.
â??We definitely have been in contact with growers, and we know that there is interest in working with us,â?? said Smith. â??We want to really map out what it will look like and what people are interested in growing for us.â??
The goal is to incorporate more locally grown food into the community and into the schools as well.
Smith said the facility will package and sell a variety of vegetables from squash to tomatoes.
The property also came with about seven acres of land right behind the facility that the old restaurant owner never really used. For Wintergreen Farm, itâ??s perfect because itâ??s where they can grow potatoes, carrots, and even rutabagas.
â??Weâ??ll be doing some cut fresh items like carrot sticks,â?? Smith added. â??Weâ??re also doing dehydrated products like zucchini chips, which are really good, and kale chips.â??
After the summer growing season is over, Smith said the focus will be moved onto fixing up the Candlelight Inn and working toward purchasing cold storage lockers and a commercial dehydrator. She said she believes buying local vegetables will not only introduce people to new foods, but will also support the community as well.
â??Being able to collaborate the efforts of the small vegetable farmers in this area will help to build that aspect of the economy in the western U.P., and Iâ??m really excited about that,â?? Smith said.
Wintergreen Farm is planning to use a crowd sourcing program to help fund the purchase of some equipment. For more information on their program, visit the website here.