All winter Maggie and I have been trying to come up with new and inventive marketing schemes that will increase the amount of product that we have to sell this summer and also the number of reliable consumers that will prioritize buying products supported by Grow Appalachia. In looking back on the previous markets that Pine Mountain has been involved in, it seems that value added products are in great demand and could potentially boost income for many Grow Appalachia participants. It may seem a bit early to be thinking about canning and marketing, but when it comes to selling homemade food items it is never too soon to start planning and make sure that you meet all the requirements for certification. Because who really wants to spend a whole weekend canning 7 dozen quart jars of salsa while dreaming of some extra cash to then find out that you aren’t properly certified and cannot sell a single bit of it.
|The possibilities for jams and jellies are endless!|
Value added products produced by farmers and gardeners are defined as a raw product grown by the farmer and modified, changed, and/or enhanced in order to turn it into another product with a higher net worth. The price of value added products is higher because it takes into account the cost of any “additives” and the cost of labor necessary for production. While simple canned goods, jellies, and jams may be the first value added products that come to mind, there are also many other products that fall under the category of value added that can be made using your garden produce.
Here are some of the goods that are considered value added products:
Fruit sauces and spreads
|Everyone loves a freshly baked Saturday morning pastry!|
Hot chili sauces
Dried flower arrangements
…… you get the idea
Many of these value added specialty products are becoming hot ticket items in many farmers markets and small local groceries, and can bring in extra income for home food producing entrepreneurs; the only catch is that you do need certain certifications. The simple guidelines in Kentucky are that homebased processors may sell jams, jellies, breads, fruit pies, cakes, and cookies if they register with the Cabinet for Health Services. Registration for becoming a homebased processor is free of charge. Homebased microprocessors may sell acid, acidified, and low acid foods if they send an application form to the Cabinet for Health Services and attend a Homebased Microprocessors workshop. The total cost for this process is $100 and an additional $5 fee for every recipe that is submitted for approval (recipe approval by a representative of UK is required). To become certified as a homebased processor or microprocessor you must also have your water tested, if you have city water you will automatically be approved but some people with well water may have to use a filtration system based on the results of the water test.
Last week USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the largest allotment of grants for value-added producers in recent history: nearly 300 grants across 44 states and Puerto Rico, adding up to some 44 million dollars!!
Read this article on our favorite site, Civil Eats, to learn more:
Homebased Processing and Micro processing workshops are held throughout Kentucky, beginning in late February, here is a list of workshops, resources, and additional individuals to contact for more specific information: http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/micro/
If you want to sell value added products this year, don’t wait until your garden begins to produce, get started now so you have time to make your way through the certification process, and can sell wonderful products like these delicious looking pickled goods!