Ever wonder what is going on behind the doors of Stony Brook’s Calverton Food Business Incubator? Ever thought about starting a cooking business? Ever want to see what foodies really love doing? All of this was on display the afternoon of Wednesday, June 1, when the incubator opened its doors to community members, investors, representatives and market buyers.
Thirty-six start-up food companies showcased their workspace and provided amazing samples of their products to more than 80 attendees. Many community members who came to the two-hour open house admitted to driving by the facility hundreds of times, but never knew what was cooking inside. One attendee said she thought it was a Stony Brook University animal research facility, much like what Plum Island was. The woman was thrilled to see it was a food business incubator, and excited to share this information with friends who never knew such a facility existed.
The open house was the brainchild of Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, who had visited the incubator and recognized the potential of these young start-ups with the hope to eventually have them locate their companies and produce jobs within Brookhaven Town.
“Calverton’s Food Business Incubator provides a supported environment for food entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. I toured it several months ago and was so inspired by the hard work and passion of the entrepreneurs, I wanted to find a way to help support them as they pursue their dreams,” Kornreich said. “We put together a match-making event and invited business and civic leaders from all over Suffolk County; investors; restaurant owners and others to come meet the entrepreneurs, sample their products, offer advice and maybe strike some deals.”
While sampling the company’s delicious products, attendees also provided great input and support to the companies. “We hope to do this again next year, so watch for the announcement in the future!” added Kornreich.
The companies in attendance heated up bite-sized quiche; warmed cheesy puffs; and created samplings of homemade potato salad, rice pudding, biscotti, cookies, doughnuts and candy. There were marinating sauces to sample, coffee, tea, crumb cake, granola, jams, breads, keto muffins and fresh juices to try. There were even gluten-free fries to be had. The food incubator has private baking rooms, a large shared-use commercial kitchen and one of only two totally gluten-free commercial kitchens on Long Island.
“We are thrilled with the success of the Open House and are excited to be involved in more events like this. Our mission is to help our companies succeed and grow, not just on the East End but across Long Island and beyond,” said David Hamilton, Calverton’s program manager. “We have a lot of special companies and products being made here, and it is our responsibility to get them in front of as many possible customers as possible.”
“I am continually amazed at the great food and drink creations produced in this building. Calverton is a place where we nurture companies, helping them to grow,” said Yvonne Schultz, Calverton’s building manager and former entrepreneur. Along with Kornreich, Schultz organized the event, doing everything from arranging table space to communicating with participating companies to greeting attendees at the front door.
And at the end of the day, all went away with a good understanding of food incubation, seeing the love and care that goes into each product — and a full belly.
“Calverton is the place where people get the opportunity to follow their dreams and passions in the food and beverage industry,” concluded Schultz.
To learn more about the Calverton Food Business Incubator, please visit its website.