Side Dishes: Long-dormant Hinesburg factory takes on new foodie life
The Saputo Cheese manufacturing plant in Hinesburg has remained empty since it closed in 2008 following a massive fire. Now, thanks to real estate developer Catamount-Malone/Hinesburg, the 88,720-square-foot building is becoming home to food businesses again. Unlike the Canadian mozzarella company that used to fill it, these companies all tout the Vermont brand.
Loans from the Vermont Economic Development Authority  helped Green Mountain Organic Creamery and Vermont Smoke and Cure  become the food hub’s first tenants. According to Doug Nedde of Catamount-Malone/Hinesburg, the former, a Ferrisburgh dairy, will begin by bottling milk and eventually expand into yogurt, cheese and ice cream.
Vermont Smoke and Cure will move its Barre base of operations to Hinesburg in April, says CEO Chris Bailey. The 37,000-square-foot space will alleviate cramping issues for the office and factory. “We’ll just be able to do what we’re doing a lot better,” Bailey says.
The larger work area will also accommodate the creation of new products. Bailey says customers can expect smoked sausages, ham steaks and new flavors of RealSticks snacks soon. Also soon to debut is VS&C’s new, all-Vermont label, 5 Knives. The line includes cob- and maple-smoked hams that already won a charcuterie prize at the national Good Food Awards late last month, though they are not yet available to the general public.
Although an engineering firm, Senix, just signed a lease for another chunk of the Hinesburg building, Nedde says he and his partners, Pat Malone and Larry Williams, are actively courting food businesses. The team is in talks with operators who plan to open a locavore café that Nedde compares to Bristol’s Bobcat Café , sans brewery.
Two more locations are still for lease, and the realtor says he’s confident they will be filled this year. Could Hinesburg become Vermont’s next food-production capital?