A Mini-Cassia company that packages beans in a new way is building a new 12,000 square-feet food processing plant in Rupert, Idaho.
Bare Beans fully cooks and packages pinto, garbanzo, red and black beans into food service-sized four-pound packages and will expand next month into the retail market with smaller consumer-sized packages.
The plant is expected to roll into production by May. Bare Beans Founder and CEO Michelle Huff said the factory is planned in three stages and will start with 10 to 12 employees and end with 35 to 40 workers, reported the Times-News.
The types of jobs will include production line workers, transportation, sales and the company’s management and the company will start hiring in March.
Their biggest hurdle will be the local labor shortages. The company will be competing for employees with a lot of local food processing giants.
The new plant is located on 100 West Road about a quarter mile from Idaho Highway 25. The city of Rupert is extending its industrial wastewater and water lines to accommodate the new plant and other growth in the area, according to the Times-News.
According to Huff, a can of beans contains about one-third water, which is discarded. A truck carrying a load of canned beans where one-third of the product is water that will be discarded is a waste of resources.
Huff has been working on the project since 2018 and wanted to develop a product using a crop her husband, Robert Huff of Paul, grows.
During processing, the beans are soaked overnight, kettle cooked and packaged fresh. The beans can then be boiled, steamed or microwaved and are packaged in BPA-free plastic with a use-by-date that extends 45 days from production.
Rupert City Administrator Kelly Anthon said the city applied for an Idaho Community Development Block Grant for $420,000, which will pay for much of the infrastructure and the City of Rupert Urban Renewal Agency will also kick in funding.
The new plant was designed to be easily expanded and they welcome opportunities to co-pack other companies products. They also plan to expand their own product to nationwide distribution and use local growers.