Johnny's Newsletter - October 2012: Value-Added Processing for Beginners

In This Issue

Value-Added Processing
for Beginners

October 2012

Getting Started with Value-Added Processing

As farmers markets extend their seasons and the demand for local food goes year-round, many growers are creating value-added products to take advantage of new marketing opportunities. The term value-added products encompasses a wide array of farm products, from specialty foods to non-food items such as straw bales and wreaths. In this issue of the JSS Advantage, we'll focus on creating value-added food products as a way of diversifying your farm's offerings, extending your selling season, and improving your bottom line.

Let's start with the basics -- deciding on what you want to make, then taking a practical look at the business side.

Finding Your Niche

Follow your passion with value-added productsFirst, identify potential products. Maybe you have a great family recipe for pepper jelly; or a special love of pesto; or you're part of the fermentation generation. Choose foods that interest you, and think about variations that could be developed into a multiple-product line, such as basil pesto, cilantro pesto, and parsley pesto. Experiment in your home kitchen to devise recipes that are delicious, economical, and feature ingredients from your own or other local farms. In the interest of simplicity, stick to one type of food process, such as canning, freezing, drying, or baking. Later on -- when you've gained some mastery -- you can give more consideration to an expanded offering.

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Business Basics for the Value-Added Processor

Business Basics for Value-added ProcessorsOnce you've settled on a product or several products, do a brief analysis of the main factors involved in writing a business plan for your value-added enterprise. These elements include:

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