Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

Incubator kitchen opens in Pasco to teach food entrepreneurs

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week for the Pasco County Extension Service community kitchen.
The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - Pasco Extension opened an incubator kitchen on Sept. 23. It's at 15029 14th Street in Dade City. The goal of the kitchen is to create educational opportunities for food entrepreneurs and help them to start new businesses. Whitney Eleamor (center left) developed the idea for the kitchen. [PAIGE FRY | Paige Fry]
Published Oct. 11

DADE CITY — Whitney Elmore saw room for opportunity when she drove by the empty county building five years ago.

Elmore had just become director of the Pasco County Extension, part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Her goal was simply to improve the economic and resource opportunities in the community, and she saw that building as a place to begin.

She spoke last month in her soft Kentucky accent to more than 50 people, introducing them to the new incubator kitchen 15029 14th St.

"The wins that we have in terms of public servants tend to be small, and they tend to take a lot of time,” she said to a Tampa Bay Times reporter. “It moved so much quicker because folks could really see the benefit in the community.”

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Pasco Extension opened an incubator kitchen on Sept. 23 at 15029 14th Street in Dade City. [PAIGE FRY | Paige Fry]

The day-to-day operations of the kitchen will vary, Elmore said. On some days, residents will be able to reserve space to make goods for their home or business use. Jams, pickles, cupcakes and more can be made in bulk to later be consumed or sold. Two to three people can use the kitchen at a time.

The cost will be $10 to $20, depending on how many hours a person uses the kitchen. Dozens of people already have asked about reserving spaces, Elmore said, including people from counties outside of Pasco.

Other days will be reserved for educational seminars like food safety or as a place for the Pasco Economic Development Council to offer entrepreneurial training.

The kitchen is modest in size, but it has the equipment needed to educate and build the fundamentals of food entrepreneurship. It also sits next to several classrooms, where Elmore envisions classes on nutrition, basic food preservation and canning.

The kitchen includes a stove, sink, freezer, fridge and icebox. Most of the appliances were donated by Welbilt, a local supplier of commercial food service equipment.

Green bell peppers grow outside the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - Pasco Extension incubator kitchen. It's at 15029 14th Street in Dade City. [PAIGE FRY | Paige Fry]

In addition to the donated equipment, the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners put $30,000 toward renovating the space.

“It’s amazing. It gives me chills. This is my hometown,” County Commissioner Ron Oakley said. “Entrepreneurs will start their new businesses right here out of this kitchen.”

Outside there is a “farmden,” which is more than a garden and less than a farm, Elmore said. A small group of chickens walked by the horticultural demonstration areas last month, and by community garden plots where green bell pepper plants already were sprouting.

The goal for the space is for it to become a model, Elmore said. She would like to open at least two more of these programs in central and west Pasco. Her hope is to host a farmer’s market at the Dade City location.

“We already know we are creating new businesses,” she said. “We also want to showcase what this particular community has to offer in terms of growth and community.”

How to get involved

To reserve the kitchen or large classroom for culinary use, call 352-521-1254, and email eurquiola@pascocountyfl.net for the reservation form.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pasco County School Board member Alison Crumbley wants her colleagues to take a closer look at making improvements to west-Pasco schools.
    The board plans a workshop before the end of the year.
  2. A Pasco County woman was arrested Wednesday after seven of her horses were found to be malnourished, including one that later died. Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One horse died. The others likely will be auctioned off, according to deputies.
  3. Hudson High School principal David LaRoche plans to seek election as Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of David LaRoche
    ‘I feel like I have to do this,’ says Dave LaRoche, a 30-year district educator.
  4. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    Why would I discourage my daughters’ creativity and drive? Aside from being lazy, I was trying to shield them from disappointment.
  5. Robert "Bobby" Mavis, 40, top left, is shown in this family photo with his wife Elizabeth and their children, from left, Evan, Kendall and Kyle. The father of three died in the Nov. 13 chain-reaction crash on northbound Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County. Courtesy Elizabeth Mavis
    Robert “Bobby” Mavis, 40, was on his way home from work last week when a semi-trailer truck crashed into his Mercedes.
  6. Emergency personnel work to extinguish a fire after a horrific collision in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties on Nov. 13. Two people died, and their names have now been released by the Florida Highway Patrol. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Days after the massive pile-up on Interstate 75, the Florida Highway Patrol has released the names of those who died.
  7. Hacienda Hotel in New Port Richey.    (ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times) Special to the Times
    Overhaul of the Gloria Swanson parking lot will expanding parking options downton.
  8. A federal jury in Tampa found Christopher Brian Cosimano, left, and Michael Dominick Mencher guilty in the Pasco County shooting death of a motorcycle club leader. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    Christopher “Durty” Cosimano and Michael “Pumpkin” Mencher were members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club. Prosecutors said they were responsible for the rush-hour assassination of Paul Anderson, a...
  9. Bob Larson, 81, from St. Petersburg, raises his hand to indicate he has a match while playing Bingo during a meal with fellow seniors in Langer Hall at the Sunshine Senior Center in St. Petersburg. Also present (but not pictured) is his wife, Janet Larson, 74. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas funds 15 congregate dining sites in Pinellas and Pasco counties. The sites offer hot meals and socialization for 6,000 seniors. The Sunshine Center is one of those sites. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Seniors are happy in their communities, but have concerns about health care, housing, transportation and support for caregivers
  10. Pasco County School Buses. Times (2018)
    The School Board also approved a student calendar for 2020-21, with Aug. 10 as the first day of classes.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement