Teaching Kitchen opens at Fairgrounds

Posted 30 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County

KNOWLESVILLE – In 2013, the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors set a goal of transforming the 40-year old Trolley Building kitchen into a modern, commercial grade teaching kitchen.

Three years and $60,000 later, the kitchen is ready for food and nutrition education, small batch food processing, and large scale cooking for events that can be held in the adjacent 50′ by 70′ space.

The kitchen features stainless steel countertop table units with an ample 3-bay sink, hand wash sink, and two prep sinks – each in one of the large stainless steel work islands.

It includes a commercial dishwasher, 54″ two-door refrigerator and freezer units, a chest freezer, and four floor to ceiling stainless storage cabinets. Additional items include a 10-burner range with two 36″ ovens, a fire suppression hood, and the honorary butcher block table refinished by Albion dairy farmer, Jeremy Neal.

New flooring, RFP board along the south wall, and a stainless steel serving window were installed as well.

A majority of the upgrades were funded through grants from local foundations and a recent award of $25,675 from the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority. Private donations, including support from the Fern Blackburn Memorial and Mrs. Ann Preston, along with funds raised by the Orleans County 4-H Fair Committee and Leaders’ Association helped as well.

As funds were raised, work was completed.  The hardest part was closing the kitchen for new plumbing and electrical installed in the concrete floor to the island units.

Extension staff and volunteers were ready for the new kitchen and have already held food preservation workshops and pie-making workshops to prepare for the annual 4-H Fair to be held July 25-30 this year. They are also planning for 4-H Cooking Camp, July 18 & 19, along with using the kitchen to host concessions and dinners for 4-H activities. The nutrition program uses the kitchen as well to prepare foods for workshops held throughout Orleans County.

While the kitchen supports Extension work, it is intended to achieve a greater goal of increasing the consumption of local fruit and vegetable products.  Growers or food entrepreneurs are encouraged to consider the kitchen for processing foods into ready-to-eat products or hosting workshops for consumers.

The kitchen rents at $125/day and meets all food and safety codes. Information about using the kitchen can be found on Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website under Facility Use at cceorleans.org or requested at 585-798-4265.