Rhode Island company looks to set up commercial kitchen in North Stonington

North Stonington — A Middletown, R.I., company that produces ghee, a clarified butter product, has had its site plan approved for a ghee production facility at 81 Norwich-Westerly Road.

The company, Farm to Gold, was founded by Lynn Goodwin, who lives in Rhode Island, and Kim Welch, a resident of North Stonington. Both are students of Ayurveda, an Indian medicine system with a nutrition component, and they founded the company producing ghee in their own homes.

Ghee originated in India, and is made by heating butter to eliminate milk solids and water, leaving it lactose-free and able to be heated to very high temperatures.

"It's fantastic to fry eggs, pop popcorn or saute vegetables ... (it's) very versitile for any cooking," Welch said.

They buy their butter from Kriemhild Dairy in Hamilton, N.Y., a grass-fed dairy farm which rests their cows for five months out of the year.

"When they do make butter it's such high quality because they don't need to feed them a bunch of grain," Welch said.

The company has grown to several dozen retail locations (locally at Wheeler Library and Johnathan Edwards Winery) as well as farmers markets across New England. Its products are also offered online.

The site plan involves a 3,500-square-foot building and 11 parking spaces for the "light manufacturing" of ghee, according to the town planning officer's report, and will be built to resemble a barn. The location formerly was a residential home located within a "Planning Opportunity Area," identified in the Plan of Conservation and Development as a section of town that could attract commerical development.

Welch said they were looking to establish additional roots in the state of Connecticut in order to give them access to farmers' markets and retail spaces in the state. The location was good for them, she said, because of the easy access to Interstate 95.

"This property seemed to be a perfect fit and also where we're at we're in farm country ... connecting the customer to the farmer," she said.

She said they will continue producing ghee in their facility in Rhode Island through 2017 and Farm to Gold plans to continue producing products in Rhode Island in the future.

The site plan calls for two phases, the first of which is a 3,500-square-foot space containing two commerical kitchens to produce ghee and body products, as well as additional office space.

The second phase, which Welch describes as being two years out, is a 1,000-square-foot potential retail space for Farm to Gold and local farm products, as well as a cafe that would serve vegetarian, and grab-and-go food consistent with their Ayurveda philosophy.

n.lynch@theday.com

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