Construction to begin on agriculture center

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO Senator Ken LaValle at an announcement Tuesday that construction will begin this winter for a new wine and agricultural processing center in Calverton to assist small businesses on the East End to commercialize products.

Construction will begin this winter on a new wine and agricultural testing facility in Calverton to help East End growers research and develop new consumer food products.

The new Agriculture Consumer Science Center will be located in an 8,500 foot addition at Stony Brook University’s Calverton Business Incubator on Route 25. Entrepreneurs will be able to rent space there at $25 an hour for access to fully equipped commercial kitchens, where they will be able to research and develop soups, sauces, baked goods and other products.

State Senator Ken LaValle, who sought a $3.5 million state grant for the project, said the center will give Long Island’s agricultural community the tools it needs to develop “new marketable consumer items and enhance their product lines.”

Mr. LaValle announced the grant Tuesday at the site, joined by SBU president Samuel Stanley, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and the Long Island Farm Bureau’s newly elected executive director, Frank Beyrodt of DeLea Sod Farms.

“With this new technology, there’s no limit of what can be accomplished,” Mr. Beyrodt said.

While construction will generate about 70 to 80 jobs, officials said it was difficult to predict how many permanent jobs the new facility might create.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in about 14 months, officials said.

[email protected]

This post was originally published Oct. 26, 2010