Starting a small food business just got easier in southern Delaware after county officials unveiled a new kitchen incubator to support “foodpreneurs” looking for a space to cook up their fusion of food blends. Items now being produced at the centralized kitchen range from key lime pies to hot sauce, breads, and pizzas. The initiative is helping pave a new career pathway for residents in mostly rural Sussex County.
The county’s director of economic development Bill Pfaff identified the need for a commercial kitchen to help small businesses produce their goods.
“One of the things that I constantly heard from foodpreneurs was there wasn’t space for them to produce their product to take the commercialization because you must produce your food products in a licensed commercial kitchen,” Pfaff said.
The pandemic hindered the county’s efforts to get the kitchen up and running.
“I started working on this kitchen incubator pre-COVID, and then COVID hit, everything had to come to a standstill, but we never gave up, we continued to work on it,” he said. “It ended up taking a little bit more work to do because of the federal shutdown.”
Jessica Williamson of Milton was part of that first wave with Coastal Key Lime Pie, the company she co-owns. The creation of the kitchen incubator allowed Williamson and her husband Lee to bring their unique key lime pie to the coastal area. Since discovering the incubator at Delaware Technical Community College’s Georgetown campus, the pastry chef says the demand for her pies has skyrocketed.
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