Amy's Kitchen breaks ground

Goshen. Supervisor Doug Bloomfield said the arrival of the vegetarian meals producer was the biggest thing to happen to Goshen since the arrival of the Erie Railroad in 1843.

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  • Officials who “dug in” to get construction of Amy’s Kitchen started, from the left, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano, Town of Goshen Supervisor Doug Bloomfield, Andy Berliner, Senator Chuck Schumer, Rachel Berliner, Amy’s Kitchen President Xavier Unkovic, and Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Andy and Rachel Berliner, owners of Amy’s Kitchen, shown with their shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Owner of Amy’s Kitchen Andy Berliner talks with Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus at the luncheon provided by Amy’s Kitchen after the groundbreaking ceremony (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Senator Chuck Schumer speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Amy’s Kitchen (Photo by Geri Corey)

“We felt the love come our way."
Rachel Berliner

By Geri Corey

At long last, Amy’s Kitchen is coming to Goshen.

Groundbreaking for the producer of organic vegetarian meals took place on Friday, June 21 — the first day of summer.

Company owners Rachel and Andy Berliner from Petaluma, California, were present for the big day. They spoke of their affection for Goshen.

“We felt like this is our home,” said Andy. He's been meeting with local officials for all the five years that the project has been in the works.

“We felt the love come our way,” said Rachel. She said they hardly know the people in other communities where their factories are located — Oregon, Idaho, and California.

Andy mentioned “the twist and turns” of working on the project. But, in the end, it was a “joyful experience,” he said.

Committed to sustainability

Good news for Goshen is that the company is committed to environmental sustainability. Rachel revealed that, with input from their daughter, Amy, the company’s namesake, the Goshen plant would be 40 percent more efficient than other facilities during operation.

Town Supervisor Doug Bloomfield spoke highly of the Berliners and how impressed he is with their warmth, their care for their employees, and what Amy’s Kitchen will mean for Goshen. He equated it with the arrival of the Erie Railroad in 1843.

“It brought hotels and more and was wonderful for business," he said. This is just as great."

Let the sun shine in

Amy's Kitchen makes 250 different meals, all with organic produce. The company buys local products, says its president, Xavier Unkovic.

“The company wants to buy more because people are looking for healthy food," he said.

Amy’s Kitchen now makes more than one million meals a day, with much of the work done by hand. Sixty percent of their customers are on the East Coast. Amy’s in Goshen is their first East Coast kitchen.

For farmers to qualify as growing organic produce, their land must be clean of chemicals for three years.

Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of Orange County Partnership, acted as emcee of the groundbreaking event. She talked about “bringing this dream project to reality.”

A new road off 17M, located next to the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center, will give access to the facility.

Heavy rain beat down on the tents set up on the groundbreaking site.

“The rain cleanses the ground and creates a new beginning,” said Halahan. “Sunshine will follow soon.”

And a short time later, the sun did shine.

“When I’m with the Berliners, I feel the warmth and calm — a feeling of being hugged,” Halahan said, adding, “Thank you for choosing this spot.”

Lasagna to die for

Said Senator Chuck Schumer, “This is one great day. It’s a long time coming. When I have to make my own dinner, I eat Amy’s meals all the time.”

Holding up boxes of Amy’s entrees, he raved, “Lite and Lean Lasagna is to die for, followed closely by the Black Bean Burrito.” He’s also partial to Amy’s Mac ‘n Cheese.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs. This project will benefit 680 workers,” touted Schumer, adding that the Berliners, sole owners of Amy’ Kitchen, are “nice people who treat their people that way.” And by Amy buying local products, Schumer noted that Hudson Valley agriculture would benefit. “This is a dream come true,” he said.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, deployed to Iraq for six months as a U.S. Navy Reserves Lieutenant commander, was honored by a standing ovation when he came to the stage. He had returned to Orange County just the day before the groundbreaking celebration.

Neuhaus said he was happy to see the Berliners here and proud of them for what they have accomplished.

Referring to his experience in Iraq, Neuhaus said to the audience, “Appreciate what you have here. The Iraqi people appreciate what Americans do for them.”

A warm reception

Supervisor Bloomfield received high honors from Rachel and Andy Berliner.

“Doug Bloomfield is our champion," said Andy. "We wouldn’t be here without him."

Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano said the cooperation between his office, Governor Cuomo, and the county executive helped to keep the project going.

“It was a complicated project for us to get involved with since it’s located four miles outside the city limits,” he said, "but through working together and leadership from the governor’s office, Middletown is providing water and sewer service for the business."

Unkovic predicts that with building construction beginning in the spring of 2020, the equipment arriving in July, Amy’s first meal made in the Goshen kitchen will be available in 2021.

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Justin Inserra
  • Jul 19, 2019


Warwick, NY