by Amy Spector, OSK Project Manager
Willy Street Co-op officially stepped into the world of food processing on March 3rd, 2005! Our inspection by the Department of Agriculture went off without a hitch, and, once we got our occupancy permit on March 11th, we moved our kitchen crew over to start production on March 9th. This project was the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work by many people, some of whom have been named already, like Bachmann Construction and Commercial Air.
What people won’t necessarily appreciate when they pass through the kitchen is the hours that staff members Corinna Greenwood, Dan Frost and Dan Moore put in to get our Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan written—all under the expert guidance of WSGC member and HACCP guru Bette Hurley. That plan is a key document for the Department of Agriculture to monitor our food production and make sure we do things the right way.
Bette also put 17 of us—successfully!—through ServSafe, a nationally recognized food-handling program. Look for certificates of the class graduates, all of whom passed the exam, on the walls at the off-site kitchen and the store. The eight-hour course required lots of study during our staff members’ personal time, and I, personally, would like to thank them for their care and concern about improving our food-handling procedures.
The move to the off-site kitchen will change our operations in numerous ways. First, we have lots of sparkling, new equipment that will simplify our cooking processes and spark our creativity. And we now have the refrigeration we need to increase our production so you, as customers, should see fewer “out of stock” tags in the deli and bakery. This should also help the store because the space cleared out by the deli, bakery and Willy Pack will allow the grocery and produce departments to expand their storage capacity, so you’ll likely see fewer “out of stock” tags in their departments, too.
Keep in mind, though, that the off-site kitchen is a production facility not a retail center. We will not be selling any products directly from the kitchen. So your opportunity to see the shop will be at our open house on April 8th from 6:00–8:00 p.m. After that, it will be by appointment only. If you have any questions, please contact me at our new kitchen number, 268-1234.