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County kitchen set to open, putting new spin on “farm fresh” goods

Members of both Walterboro City Council and Colleton County Council recently toured the county’s new commercial kitchen, making the tour a first-time that both political bodies have toured the area together. The kitchen is a first of its kind for Colleton, giving farmers and aspiring business owners a place to turn their goods into a retail product. Photos by Heather Walters

It’s a first for Colleton County. The county’s new commercial kitchen is already garnering attention and gaining regional buzz for its ability to turn farm-fresh produce into retail goods. The kitchen, located next to the Colleton Museum in downtown Walterboro, is also a place for aspiring business owners and hopeful business people to make and then sell their products, all while using state-approved refrigeration and cooking facilities. The kitchen will not act as its own eatery and restaurant with a set lunch menu: it will only be reselling any products that its users turn into retail goods, according to county officials.

Funded entirely by Colleton County and through a loan from PRTC and a USDA grant, the kitchen is set to open in May. Last week, members of both the Colleton County Council and Walterboro City Councils held a joint tour of the facility – the first time that both elected bodies had taken the stroll together. Leading the tour is the commercial kitchen’s new manager Chad Carter, who hopes that the public will take advantage of the goods and services that the kitchen will offer. “It’s spacious and it’s a place for people to turn their dreams and goods into products,” he said. Carter is an award-winning chef and food science director who was hired as the kitchen’s director in November of 2014.

Specifically, county leaders say that anyone wanting to turn their homemade products, like bread, honey or jams, into a retail good can use the kitchen space to do so. Carter will oversee the use of the kitchen by aspiring sellers, and will be responsible for all food handling. Carter will also manage all events at the kitchen, be responsible for all events and will be tasked with turning the kitchen into an economic development tool for the county.

The kitchen began as the brain child of county officials, and was turned into a reality over the past year. Colleton County will use funds from the county’s Accomodations-Tax pool to repay a $100,000 loan to Palmetto Rural Telephone: that loan covered the required match of a USDA grant that allowed the county to build the new space attached to the current museum and farmers market.

 

Heather Walters (457 Posts)