LONG ISLAND - These days Robert Curreri owner of Robert's Bake Stand spends most of his time in the kitchen at East End Food Institute. The chef turned baker has been perfecting his pastries in a space he pays for monthly. He says it saves him the hardship of having to commit to a brick and mortar location while he's building his business.
"Without this facility, you'd be working for someone else," he said. "This gives you the opportunity to step out on your own."
The food institute helps small producers like Robert develop, package and market their products. It also supports farmers when it comes to processing and preserving their crops. Kate Fullam is the Executive Director.
"There's an economic impact from helping local farms and food producers," she said. "There's an environmental impact of reducing the miles that food needs to travel from farm to plate."
Ian Calder-Piedmont co-owner of Balsam Farms says East End Food Institute helps him generate more income for his farms.
"The ability for us to have a jar of tomato sauce, or pickles or jams when we open in May and otherwise we'd have mostly asparagus, greens and herbs really helps round out the season," he said.
Here is where he also met Robert. The pair hopes to work together to sell his freshly baked goods on the South Fork.
East End Food Institute relies on grants and private donations. Their long term goal is to establish a formal food hub to aggregate, process and distribute local products and produce.
"We're raising the tide for everyone," Fullam said. "We're helping people access food and respecting the people growing and producing the food at the same time."
Streamlining connections within the east end food community.
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