Under New Direction
The University of Idaho’s Food Technology Center (FTC) has been buzzing with business this last year without so much as a hiccup while it shifted to management under a new director, Josh Bevan.
Formerly the pilot plant manager of the FTC, Joshua Bevan was promoted to the position of Director for the center in May of 2012. He is responsible for the overall management of the facility, planning, pilot plant projects, and food business development. Prior to joining the UI, Josh was a quality assurance manager for a dry blending facility and has worked for a number of food processors in private industry.
The mission of the FTC is to provide a multi-use facility where individuals and food companies can receive comprehensive business, technical and educational assistance to develop or improve their food business. The FTC shares space in Caldwell, ID with the Southern District Office of UI Extension, the Caldwell Research and Extension Center, and the UI Agri-Business Incubator.
The FTC is a 7000 sq ft certified food processing facility. Originally designed as a specialty foods co-packing operation, the FTC has been converted into a multi-purpose food production facility to serve a large variety of food processing needs. A portion of the facility is available for rent to individuals or companies that wish to produce their own specialty foods in a certified commercial kitchen. However, the remaining space had been converted into a pilot plant to assist established companies with contract R&D, GLP food processing studies and food quality and safety analysis.
The commercial kitchen supervised by Cini Baumhoff is working with some new clients this year – from established businesses like Sun Valley Mustard and the Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum, Idaho and two new business ventures that have yet to be named. Perennial kitchen client, Dilly’s is gearing up for asparagus season, so look for Dilly’s pickled products on store shelves soon. Another kitchen success story, Silver Sage Bakery is “leaving the nest” to begin producing gluten-free baked goods in their own facility.
The pilot plant just completed two citrus processing projects last month and there are over 12 other studies on the horizon – from sugar beet processing to potato flake production. The pilot plant is looking forward to a busy and productive year!
The FTC will also offer a class called “Developing Your Food Product Idea– Getting Started in a Food Business” on June 7, 2013, from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm in the UI Caldwell Complex Education Center (Building next to Food Technology Center). This class is required for anyone that wants to use the commercial kitchen. Registration for that class is available here.