A dairy plant in Bangor that has sat vacant since 2013 is being renovated into a new facility capable of producing a variety of dairy products.
It’s one of the latest projects from the Portland nonprofit Libra Foundation, which established Pineland Farms, the state’s biggest cheesemaker. along with the Pineland Farms Potato Co.
The group recently sold the spud business to Bob Evans, but Libra Foundation President Jere Michelson says the idea to acquire the plant came about from Pineland’s foray into making mashed potatoes.
To make them, Michelson says, Pineland needed a particular blend of milk, butter and seasonings, which at first they were getting from the Milk Street Plant. But as the facility changed hands from Grant’s Dairy to Garelick and finally closed, no local source could be found.
“So we were buying our milk blend out of Lynn, Massachusetts, and then it moved out of there down to Texas, and we were basically following this train around the country for milk blend. And here we have this plant that sits in Bangor, that’s not being used, that was specifically created to produce these milk blends,” he says.
Michelson says the plant could supply milk blends for ice cream makers, large cheesecake companies, bakers and, of course, mashed potato makers like Bob Evans.
The foundation acquired the property for $620,000, but Michelson says extensive renovations are needed before it’s ready to take on any milk. When up and running, Michelson says the new Milk Street plant could create as many as 50 permanent jobs.