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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

Adding Value to the Sustainable Farm

Learnings from a SARE Appalachia Initiative Grant 2007

the need
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
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
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
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
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
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
calvin bigg rigg s
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
sell everything
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.
key learnings
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
questions
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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