EastEnd Food Hub rendering by Garnett DePasQuale Projects

The East End Food Institute, which runs the indoor farmers market in Riverhead, has unveiled an ambitious multimillion dollar plan to develop a centralized food processing and distribution facility at its Main Road site.

The project, dubbed the East End Food Hub, has an estimated price tag of $15-$20 million. It would foster the creation of new markets for Long Island food growers and producers and their products, the East End Food Institute said.

“We are very excited to announce the development of the East End Food Hub, and hope to spread awareness of the importance of supporting local farmers, food producers and an equitable local food system here on Long Island,” East End Food Institute Executive Director Kate Fullam said in a press release. “This project will help to diversify revenue streams for farmers while ensuring there is healthy, farm-fresh food for all people in need.”

EastEnd Food Hub rendering by Garnett DePasQuale Projects

The organization unveiled renderings for phase one of the food hub at a fundraising event last week in East Hampton. The first phase, renovation of an existing building, will cost an estimated $1.5 million and includes a refined indoor farmers market and community kitchen that small scale producers can rent to produce their goods.

The full site plan will also include a processing facility for turning higher volumes of farm produce into value-added products, a farm to freezer processing facility, a warehouse and cold storage for aggregation and distribution of locally-grown and made goods, and housing for seasonal workers and conference attendees.

The proposed food hub site will be located at “the gateway to both the South and North Forks of Long Island with easy access to points west, including New York City.” The site, at the intersection of Main Road (Route 25) and County Road 105, was occupied for more than 50 years by Homeside Florist and Greenhouses its retail greenhouses. The space currently houses East End Food Institute’s year-round indoor farmers market on Friday evenings through October. It will relaunch for the winter on Thanksgiving weekend and will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekly.

In addition to the indoor farmers market, East End Food Institute currently operates a shared commercial kitchen on Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus. The organization also runs a virtual farmers market, a farm to school project with five East End school districts, including Riverhead.

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