Coastal Farms and Foods to close
Belfast — Coastal Farms and Foods in Belfast has announced that it will be forced to close its doors on April 22.
The organization, which opened in 2012, was developed to support local food production and distribution. A licensed kitchen, dry and cold storage and blueberry processing are the major components of Coastal Farms and Foods. Coastal used the profit from blueberry processing to support a “business incubator” service, making it the first food hub in Maine to focus on local food. Food producers and farmers throughout the state have utilized Coastal’s business incubation service, which included use of Coastal’s licensed kitchen and equipment, access to dry and cold storage, and business development tips from Coastal staff, to launch new businesses.
A lack of contracts to process blueberries this year has meant a shortage of cash to keep the operation going, and the lender that held the largest portion of the company’s debt has called in the loan and is requiring Coastal Farms to liquidate its assets.
“It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce that Coastal Farms is going out of business. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to overcome the losses incurred during the blueberry processing season,” Jan Anderson, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Although we believe we have corrected those problems and anticipated a productive year this year, we have been unable to secure funding to support our operating costs. I deeply regret the loss this has caused to our investors. And, I am saddened by the loss of the economic potential this facility provided to the community of farmers and food entrepreneurs.”
Coastal Farms and Food employs four full-time people and up to 35 during the processing season. There are currently 12 small food producers who have used the production kitchen to turn out everything from salsa to tofu and chocolate and 45 farms and food producers use the Coastal Farms and Foods dry and cold storage facilities.
Coastal Farms and Foods management is continuing to look for possibilities for additional funding with hopes that the organization could be continued.