Born out of northwest Ohio's rich tradition in fruit and vegetable production and food processing, the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) focuses on the development and production of specialty, value added foods.
The NOCK is a nonprofit commercial kitchen facility designed to assist entrepreneurial efforts and expand current food-related businesses. For a complete list of current NOCK tenants, please click here. For a printable version of current NOCK tenants, please click here.
The kitchen facility assists new and growing businesses by providing access to a commercially licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other like entities and technical assistance.
The kitchen incubator's services and resources bridge the gap between an idea and reality. It is costly to start a small-scale food manufacturing operation when exploring a food based venture. However, new and growing businesses can avoid this initial expenditure by utilizing the commercial kitchen until the business is viable and ready to graduate to its own manufacturing facility.
The kitchen facility maintains a baking and canning license and is approved by both the Wood County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Therefore, most of the foods produced in the kitchen can be marketed and sold in local, regional, and national markets. At this time, the facility cannot accommodate products with meat or alcohol. All ingredients must be fit for human consumption.
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The commercial kitchen is approximately 560 square feet and includes an additional dry storage area measuring approximately 90 square feet. Available equipment includes a six burner stove, bakery depth convection oven, tilting braiser, Hobart mixer with attachments, refrigerator and freezer, three compartment sink, vegetable preparation sink, hand wash sink, dry storage racks, stainless steel work surfaces, proofing box, and rolling racks.
In addition to the commercial kitchen, a food processing area is available for rent. The space includes a grade level loading dock with overhead door, a single cylinder piston filler with an unscrambling and accumulation table, steam jacketed kettles, and a labeling machine. Additionally a Hobart industrial dish washing machine, pH meter, soiled dish table with sink, clean dish table, hand sink, vegetable prep sink, and stainless steel work tables are available. There are even storage cages large enough to accommodate pallets and shelves for storing ingredients and packaging material. Two walk in cooler units 10 by 20 feet offer refrigeration and freezer storage capabilities.
Equally, one of the greenhouses attached to the main building serves as additional warehouse space, complete with individual storage cages. The greenhouse measures a total of 3,200 square feet, divided into four individual bays each measuring 20 by 40 feet (800 square feet each). All of these elements accommodate the needs of kitchen tenants working to establish their business.
In order for a client to use the NOCK, the tenant must have a business plan, at least $500,000 of general liability and product liability insurance, and pay a $200 deposit refundable upon termination of the lease. All tenants must meet the approval of the Agricultural Incubator Foundation (AIF) board, and complete NOCK's orientation and training program. Upon signing a lease, kitchen time must be reserved in advance and is on a first come, first served basis with availability any day or time. Scheduling assists in assuring more than one business is not working at the same time in the same area eliminating the difficulty in accessing equipment and maintaining confidentiality in recipe and process. No information collected by NOCK staff will be shared with other entities unless required to do so by regulatory agencies.
Pre-paid rent is required prior to utilization of the kitchen. The rental rate is $20 per hour with a four hour minimum per production period ($80 minimum per use). The hourly fee helps cover the cost of utilities and general maintenance of the kitchen equipment, facility and as well as licenses. The area is a shared use space, therefore, proper cleaning and sanitation practices are strictly enforced and staff reserves the right to limit access or fine any tenant not meeting expectations. During the orientation process, the procedures will be reviewed as sanitation practices are essential in any food handling location to ensure safety for consumers.
Assistance is available for entrepreneurs pursuing the food industry, and NOCK staff can offer names and contact information directing clients to appropriate resources. Certain small business development services carry a nominal fee.
NOCK assistance includes providing information on everything from recipe modifications for mass production, to outlets for packaging materials, to linking small businesses with food science experts. Periodically, workshops are conducted to address issues relating to establishing a food business. Previous sessions have focused on food safety, business planning, marketing, pricing of food products and entering retail outlets, to name a few. Links to information on regulatory issues surrounding pH and shelf-life testing, nutritional analysis and product labeling are also available.
Food safety information
Good Manufacturer Practices are applied and enforced.
The facility as a whole was created recognizing the need for affordable services and rental spaces for agricultural-related purposes. At the same time, it is important for tenants and members to recognize there are costs associated with developing, implementing and maintaining the programs, facilities, equipment, licenses, and permits. Rental fees are collected monthly from tenants to cover utilities, maintenance and insurance needs of the property.
The Agricultural Incubator Foundation is a unique research facility. Each company that leases a research plot treats the plot as if it were their own farm using their own people and equipment to plant, tend, gather data and harvest crops.
The farmland is comprised of Hoytville silty clay loam soil, which is representative of 80 percent of the farmland in northwest Ohio and therefore, makes the facility a prime research location. The facility features wide drives and grassed waterways for easy access to plots, a surface drainage system, and a subsurface drainage system with 40 feet spacing. There are two pumps that remove water from surface and subsurface drain systems.
The property consists of approximately 135.9 acres (101.1 farmable acres), 14.6 acres of woods, and an additional 11 acres is utilized for buildings, ponds, drives, etc.
Two greenhouses are attached to the main building, one is being used for storage purposes. Each greenhouse is 3,200 square feet, divided into four individual bays each measuring 20 x 40 feet (800 square feet each).
Main office building
The main office building consists of the following and is available for local businesses or organizations to use:
- Conference room available for a minimal fee
- Four offices (office space is not available at this time)
- Four restrooms - two men, one women, and one unisex handicap accessible
- Two attached greenhouses
- Utilities include: well water, natural gas and the main electrical supply is 480 volt three phase, also available: three ph 240v, one ph 240v, and 120v.
From the north: Take I-75 south to State Route 582, exit 187, Luckey/Haskins. Turn west (right) on Middleton Pike/582 and continue approximately 2.2 miles. AIF will be on the south (left) side of the road.
From the south: Take I-75 north to State Route 582, exit 187, Luckey/Haskins. Turn West (left) on Middleton Pike/582 and continue approximately 2.2 miles. AIF will be on the south (left) side of the road.
Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK)
13737 Middleton Pike
Bowling Green, OH 43402