The Mountain Harvest Kitchen is a certified commercial kitchen created to support development and growth of local and regional food businesses. This facility will be available for rent 24/7 to individuals and businesses for food processing. Housed in a 4,000 square foot building, there will be two (2) food processing areas with commercial-sized equipment, a research and development lab, a receiving area, walk-in freezer and refrigerator, dry storage and office space.

The Kitchen, currently in development, is located at Exit 32 off Interstate 26 in Unicoi, TN. It is designed to support growers and food product entrepreneurs in Northeast
Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina to develop value-added products to sell commercially. The Kitchen will be the only facility of its kind within a 50-mile radius.

One of the primary benefits of the Kitchen is the food business incubator. The management of the facility, in cooperation with the ETSU Innovation Laboratory, will assist clients to create and grow their own food businesses. This incubator concept will help food business entrepreneurs to start a new business with very low overhead cost and create 100+ new jobs in the region.

While this Kitchen will be available to individuals and businesses for processing locally grown produce at an affordable rental rate, it will also serve to educate the public in proper food handling procedures, nutrition, and food preparation. The management of the facility will reach out to the general public and provide teaching and training to increase the health and quality of life of residents in the region.

The Mountain Harvest Kitchen will be inspected and will hold health and safety certifications by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Department of Health. The facility will have an experienced, certified manager, as well as, the support of the University of Tennessee Agriculture Department and the local UT Extension Service to develop and support the clients’ safe food processing techniques.