Mid-Hudson Success Story

Farm to Table Co-Packers: A fresh take on farm fresh food

In today's health-conscious society, fresh farm products are a precious commodity.  In New York City alone, there is an estimated $800 million worth of unmet demand for local farm products.  Farm to Table Co-Packers has recently stepped in to fill this demand.
Kingston-based Farm to Table Co-Packers is a full-service contract packaging company.  It manufactures and packages foods and other products for its clients. 
The idea for Farm to Table Co-Packers came from both partners experience in the production of local food. Jim Hyland's first venture, Winter Sun Farms, works with local farms to produce frozen local vegetables and fruit that is distributed to members during the winter months.  Luc Roels, who has seven years of contract packing experience, is the owner of Pika's Farm Table which produces a line of frozen soups, quiches, and appetizers using local produce. "We found that there was no infrastructure for us to produce local foods on any kind of production level," said Hyland.  From this dilemma, Farm to Table was born. In addition to producing Winter Sun Farms and Pika's Farm Table products, Farm to Table works with local farms to create new products and find more ways for them to get their products onto shelves and tables.
Hyland and Roels previously ran the business out of Poughkeepsie's Hudson Valley Food Works facility, which is now closed.  "It was fantastic in the beginning because I didn't have to spend any money on overhead.  You rented space by the hour and produced," said Roels.  "But as we got bigger and bigger and became more successful, the model started working against us, so we finally decided we needed a place to find a kitchen of our own."
The company recently celebrated the opening of its new 21,000 square foot facility in Kingston's Tech City complex, made possible in large part due to assistance from Empire State Development (ESD).  ESD awarded Farm to Table a $230,000 convertible loan to help complete its expansion project.  Over the next three years, the project is expected to create 27 jobs, promote economic development and finance capital investment in the Mid-Hudson region. 
Hyland said that selecting the Tech City location "was a no-brainer."  The new facility was once the site of an IBM cafeteria, which served up to 7,500 meals to IBM employees every day.  The enormous kitchen and some equipment were already in place and have been adapted for reuse by Farm to Table.
"Farm to Table Co-Packers is a small business that is making significant contributions to the sustainability of agriculture in the Mid-Hudson region," said Mid-Hudson Regional Director Susan Jaffe. "It is creating exciting value added products and extending the growing season for many local farmers."
Hyland and Roels are committed to helping local farmers develop and market their products throughout the region.  "We can start seeing products like a Hudson Valley apple sauce." Hyland said.  "Won't it be great when the Rondout Valley Growers start  their own line of products?"  With their new facility, he believes that Mid-Hudson farmers now have the infrastructure they need to make this a reality.