Adding value to the sustainable farm
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Adding Value to the Sustainable Farm. Learnings from a SARE Appalachia Initiative Grant 2007. The Need. Commodity agricultural production demands high efficiency and high volume. Family living costs continue to increase.

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Adding Value to the Sustainable Farm

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Adding Value to the Sustainable Farm

Learnings from a SARE Appalachia Initiative Grant 2007


The Need

  • Commodity agricultural production demands high efficiency and high volume.

  • Family living costs continue to increase.

  • Farmers must grow their business to provide the necessary return to owner’s labor and management.

  • Value added processing and marketing offers an option for growers with limited acreage to grow their business.


The Problem

  • Value added production/processing provides the opportunity for increased income and profit.

  • Farmers are reluctant to invest, due to uncertainty about their ability to sell a value-added product.

  • Farmers never know if they can sell the product, because they don’t have one to sell.


The Grant was the Solution

  • $25,000 Grant awarded in Spring 2007

  • 9 farmers received $1,200 towards the cost of processing - $300 for jars and $900 for labor to grow the crop.

  • Additional funds used to provide marketing assistance, education, and product ideas from chefs.


The Players

  • Collaborative for 21st Century Appalachia

  • Gourmet Central, Romney, WV

  • 6 farmers in WV

  • 3 farmers in PA

  • Brian Kelly, Penn State Extension


Products Made

  • Somerset Sweet Onion and Garlic Jelly

  • Dilly Beans

  • Bloody Mary Mix

  • Spaghetti Sauce – two kinds

  • Blackberry Jelly

  • Jonagold Chunky Applesauce

  • Hot Sauce

  • Pumpkin Syrup


Results

  • Unsold tomatoes were transformed from “pig feed” into spaghetti sauce and production was sold in a month.

  • Un-harvested sweet onions were “rescued” and processed!

  • High school boy, with help from his Grandmother, created Pumpkin Syrup


By the Numbers


Calvin – Bigg Rigg’s

  • Original product a Vodka Sauce

  • Over $5 production costs. Retail $8.

  • Pasta Sauce

  • $.50 Tomatoes + $3.50 processing cost = $8 Retail Price


Calvin’s Bank Account!


Laurel Vista Farm


Sell Everything

  • Current market means grading for sale.

  • So, they have a lot of “less than first”

  • What do we do with the extras?

  • Value-Added Processing uses the good, but not perfect.


For example…


Key Learnings

  • Use over production or second quality

  • Growers with an established market

  • Price as a premium product; it is!

  • Make a unique or specialty product!

  • Product tastings and recipe ideas

  • 7 of the 9 invested their own money in 2008 in Value Added Processing


Brian Kelly

Extension Educator

Penn State Extension, Blair County

301 Valley View Blvd., “E” Wing

Altoona, PA 16602

[email protected]

814-940-5989

Questions?


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