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Evergreen Kitchen, Bremerton's 24/7 co-op commerical kitchen, is going strong
Last Thursday afternoon it was bagels.
Bagels, salsa, artisan breads, soups and barbecue sauce typically do not have a lot in common — except in Bremerton, on Fourth Street to be specific. They are all made at Evergreen Kitchen, a Bremerton co-op commercial kitchen.
Not at the same time though. There’s a weekly schedule and businesses rotate using the facility.
“It’s a good place to start out,” said Brandyn Stone of Stonehouse Breads who was boiling and baking batches of bagels Feb. 10.
Stone, of Kingston, has been using Evergreen Kitchen since he and his father started their bagel business in August of 2009.
Joe and Lorraine Hudson, the Bremerton couple that own Evergreen Kitchen, started the venture because a friend suggested they transform a portion of their Evergreen Trophies building into a kitchen so he could have a place to cook up his barbecue sauce he sells around the county. In spring 2009, construction of the 14-by-33-square-foot kitchen began and it was ready for use in the summer. Now, the Hudsons are looking into turning a 10-by-16-square-foot section next to the kitchen into a bakery. They plan to have the additional unit ready in about two months.
“We had no clue if it would work,” Joe Hudson, 57, said last week. “The more we talked to people, the more we found a need for it.”
Those looking to start cooking in the kitchen need to have a valid health card, business license and business insurance, Joe Hudson said. The kitchen has two confection ovens as well as a regular oven and stovetop. Next week a second stove with six burners will be added. There are two refrigerators in the back room as well as a freezer. Other amenities include cooking utensils, trays, pots and a slicer.
Evergreen Kitchen is open 24 hours and tenants arrange their preferred schedule with Joe Hudson ahead of time. There are six-month leases and the cost is $300 a month with usage of eight hours per week. If businesses want to use the kitchen for more or less hours, it can be arranged and the pricing can be adjusted, Joe Hudson said.
He’s flexible with the businesses that use the kitchen and he’s glad he doesn’t have to monitor their every move.
“I don’t have to babysit them,” Joe Hudson said.
Joe Hudson has a history with the building located at 545 Fourth Street. He started assembling trophies while in high school in 1970. Eight years later he was asked to become a partner in the business and in 1990 he took over the trophy shop. In 2004, he bought the building.
Because the trophy shop shares a wall with the kitchen, the Hudsons have formed a good rapport with the businesses.
“The best part is meeting people we never would have met before,” said Lorraine Hudson, 55. “And they all are excited about their businesses.”
And, the feeling is mutual.
“They are good at taking care of you,” Stone, 22, said. “We just have to keep everything clean afterward.”
Stonehouse Breads bakes about 40 dozen of its New York-style bagels a week at Evergreen Kitchen. The output increases to about 100 dozen a week during the summer, Stone said. They spend from five to eight hours in the kitchen per day, using it three days a week. Their bagels can be purchased at FreshLocal in Bremerton and at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Cafe in Silverdale as well as other retailers and farmers markets in the county.
The Hudson couple said they have never had any issues with people causing problems in the kitchen or leaving big messes. Kitsap County Health District can also attest to that. When people go to the district looking for a place that they can cook, they will direct them to either Evergreen Kitchen or Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo, which is another co-op commercial kitchen.
“If they can’t have a second kitchen in their home or can’t build another kitchen, we tell them to look for one to rent,” said Bonnie Petek, food program manager with the district. Petek said the district approves businesses to be able to use Evergreen Kitchen and they have never received complaints. Businesses are able to produce their product and get it out to the public without investing in a whole commercial kitchen themselves, she added.
In its more-than-a-year existence, the Bremerton co-op kitchen has turned into a stepping stone for businesses. Last month Bella Bella Cupcakes opened a Silverdale storefront, but prior to that, the owners were baking at Evergreen Kitchen and selling at farmers markets and other events. Viking Feast Ice Cream was also using the Hudson’s kitchen but now have their own place in Poulsbo.
However, not all the businesses that call Evergreen Kitchen their home away from home plan on owning their own commercial kitchen one day. FreshLocal, the retail store selling fresh produce and organic items across the street from the kitchen, cooks their soups at Evergreen.
For Stone, he sees the co-op commercial kitchen as a facility where many come to cook, share space, learn to be nice to others and “then you open your own place.”
“It’s like a rite of passage kind of thing,” he said.
545 Fourth Street, Bremerton