Agenda Item 6-a

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Stephen Millington

Sep 28, 2023, 11:24:00 PMSep 28
Good evening,

Piedmont Food Processing Center (PFPC) is a necessity for the success of small food processing businesses in North Carolina. As a small business owner, we do not have the money to invest in equipment and facilities that are required by FDA and State regulations for processing food for commercial usage. Our partnership with PFPC enables us this opportunity. This facility has been a launching pad for numerous small entrepreneurs and their products in the state of NC.  

We have been in the food business since 2000, when we were accepted into the North Carolina State Fair and had owned a restaurant in Cary NC.  We have been members of three (3) other Commissaries and reached out to three (3) other food processing centers with our product.  Based on our observation the PFPC facility is the Cadillac of food processing centers. This facility is well managed, and it is much more than a processing center. PFPC also provides training and seminars on various aspects of food processing.     

My wife and I became members of PFPC earlier this year.  Our seasoning has been three years in the making and was approved for production by NC State earlier this year.  Prior to that approval, we had reached out to three other processing facilities in the state.  Those other facilities offered very little guidance and never returned our calls timely.  We reached out to PFPC, and they invited us to meet with them.  They asked us very pointed questions about our product and about our experience with processing food products. Sue and Eric provided solid guidance and education on all processes pertaining to processing our product. The welcoming atmosphere made us realize that we were in the right place. We were encouraged, applauded and received next steps within 1 hour of meeting with Eric and Sue.  

We received a tour of the facility at our next meeting and were amazed at the cleanliness of the facility. Written rules/procedures on how to maintain a sanitized environment were provided. We were offered guidance as to which equipment was best suited for our needs. This was a game changer.  We received guidance on the inspection process, product labels for our product, language for our bottles and most importantly, how to maintain a production log.  We were also advised to do multiple tests runs prior to our inspection and to be professional and proud of our product.  This was very helpful for newbies in the food processing business. 

We are out of Wake County and have now applied to use the Piedmont Food Processing Center as our Commissary for events throughout the state.  We drive over 40 miles to PFPC and will continue to do so as we have yet to find a facility that applies consistent standards to its members for the maintenance of a clean environment to ensure food safety.  Additionally, there is a community at the facility.  Everyone looks out for each other and are very supportive. 


Stephen and Andrea


Tasala Rufai

Oct 1, 2023, 6:46:55 PMOct 1
To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Tasala Rufai and I am the owner and baker of Sweetly Rooted by Tasala, LLC  which is a small, female-, and minority-owned vegan bakery business in the Durham, NC area. Sweetly Rooted by Tasala is an ode to nature spawned out of my passion to offer nature-made desserts to the Durham and surrounding communities using ingredients that are organic, without the use of preservatives, refined sugars or flours, and sweetened naturally. Even packages and labels used for these desserts are made out of plant-based materials that are compostable and environmentally conscious.

I am writing to you today in support of the Piedmont Food Processing Center (PFPC) which has been instrumental in giving my small business life and hope for a sustainable future. Sue Ellsworth and Eric Hallman have been instrumental in providing me with the education on how to move forward with my business and the resources I need through use of the kitchen, refrigerator, and storage spaces to produce and store my vegan desserts. Most recently, Sue has been guiding me through packaging and labeling requirements and will assist with setting up an inspection which if successful will allow me to sell my vegan granolas, cookies, scones, and sweet breads to the community. Without the support of PFPC, Sweetly Rooted by Tasala would be merely a collection of thoughts and hopes.

PFPC may not seem like much to the naked eye, but it is an organization that gives people like me hope and opportunity, the opportunity to start and grow a burgeoning, small business and in so doing, giving my community and local communities a choice as consumers to be more health-conscious and allowing access to products that align with that choice. I hope you will consider this in support of your decision to renew PFPC's contract allowing Eric, Sue, and associated members' the privilege to continue to manage the facility.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Tasala Rufai

Sweetly Rooted by Tasala, LLC
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