Sunshine Kitchen co-op in Fort Pierce assists foods business owners cook dinner

5 days a week, Beverly Francis cooks meals for small children in daycare facilities across the Treasure Coast. On weekends, she spices things up with a specific-situations foods truck that serves hen curry, jalapeno meatballs and other Haitian-Caribbean favorites. 

She’s capable to do it all by getting entry to a professionally equipped commercial kitchen, which she rents for $17 an hour. She’s one of about two dozen food entrepreneurs who share house at the Sunshine Kitchen area co-op in St. Lucie County.

 “It would price tag us effectively more than $200,000 for the state-of-the-artwork gear they have available for us,” mentioned Francis, co-proprietor of Bee’s Kitchen area and Catering with her fiance, Stutson Gary.

That was the thought at the rear of Sunshine Kitchen area, explained Regina McCants, coordinator for the 10,000-sq.-foot food stuff enterprise incubator owned by St. Lucie County, which is part of the Treasure Coastline Investigation Park off Rock Street west of Fort Pierce. 

Regina McCants, coordinator at the Treasure Coast Research Park's Sunshine Kitchen in St. Lucie County.

Sunshine Kitchen area

The kitchen area, which opened in 2018, provides stoves, kitchen equipment such as meat slicers, food stuff preparation places, storage room and business office house for its tenants.

The county paid $109,016 to run the kitchen in fiscal year 2020, partially offset by $74,617 in revenue generated from the tenants’ lease payments.                    

The tenants fork out a $250 just one-time deposit, then $17 an hour for the scheduled-time use of the facility, McCants claimed. With two kitchens out there, the tenants use a site to pencil in the time they need to have and concur to thoroughly clean up effectively for the group that follows.

The kitchen extra COVID-19 precautions final 12 months, necessitating masks and temperature checks for everyone getting into the facility. 

The idea for the kitchen area was based on office incubators, where by numerous startup companies share a place and get source assistance there, McCants mentioned. The county took the concept, but used it to the foodstuff marketplace. 

Beverly Francis (left), co-owner of Bee's Kitchen & Catering, along with fiance Stutson Gary prepare meals for local Treasure Coast daycares on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, at Sunshine Kitchen, a co-op commercial kitchen in St. Lucie County. The large professionally equipped kitchen allows the couple to work on a larger scale and has allowed them to network with other businesses.

Can they stand the warmth? 

Francis needed to pursue her like of cooking and supply accredited catering for weddings and exclusive events for her fellow Haitian People on the Treasure Coastline. 

“A whole lot of persons feel they can cook dinner, but they can arrive right here, exam their item and see if they can make it to something that they can consider out on their personal,” McCants reported.