To its partner sites, Grow Appalachia has continuously emphasized the importance of site-generated revenue; that is, procuring additional funds outside of GA for the sole purpose of putting back into their site/program. One way this comes forth, in creative and successful ways- beautiful, even- is through value-added products. Our partner site in Scott County, Tennessee, and also into McCreary County, Kentucky, is looking beyond the traditional jelly, pickles, and salsa (all wonderful, by the way!) and is, instead, stocking their shelves with their own special products…right from their own commercial kitchen!
The Scott County Christian Care Center became a Grow Appalachia partner site in 2012. Located in Oneida, Tennessee, the SCCC Grow Appalachia program grew- please excuse the pun- to expand into neighboring McCreary County, Kentucky, the following year. The program is now the largest Grow Appalachia partner site, in terms of number of families. This year, SCCC is working with more than 85 families; last year 84 home gardening families and 12 community gardens produced more than 91,000 pounds of food! The farmers market scene is also thriving in Scott County. Despite the many successes of the SCCC Grow Appalachia program, what has become a shining endeavor in the community is the commercial kitchen at the center.
The Scott Christian Care Center commercial kitchen was the results of extensive renovations at the Center that began in 2014. While construction was still occurring, the kitchen was visited in July of 2014 by Grow Appalachia’s funding foundation director, Constance Dykhuizen. Nearly a year later, the kitchen was opened, with its first fundraising event taking place in May of 2015. You can read more about it at this link. Along with meeting food-related needs in the community, the kitchen had a dream to create special products that would put funds back into the Center, and so far, their dream is definitely coming true! Currently, there are two groups of kitchen-created products, appropriately called “Nicely Done” products, that you can choose from:
- Gifts in a Jar: Five different soups and baked goodies to choose from, all layered intricately and perfectly in a quart-sized Mason jar: Friendship Soup, Painted Desert Chili, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Peppermint Brownies, and Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (sometimes Potato Soup is available as well). Each jar comes with its own label of easy-to-follow instructions. The jar holds all of the needed dry ingredients, taking out the sometimes frustrating guesswork of cooking and baking. A clever, creative way to gift-give! This product line idea was spearheaded by one of SCCC’s Grow Appalachia participants. From SCCC’s online store, you can also purchase jars as part of larger gift baskets. An added bonus, probably the best bonus, is that the herbs and spices featured in the soup and chili are grown in the garden at the Center!
- Bath/body care products: This product line of soaps, hand butter, body scrubs, bath salts, and bath fizzies contain lavender and honey also grown from the garden at the Center! The most recent product in the line, the bath fizzies, were researched, designed, and packaged by a longtime volunteer of the Center. It was her goal to use all-natural, fresh ingredients after she discovered, during her research, the amount of chemicals and preservatives that go into related products. You can, like the goodies above, purchase a larger basket that includes these items. These bath products, while still under the “Nicely Done” label, also have the name “Altogether Lovely”. In this blog post that launches this new product line, there is a slight hint that more products are in development and will be added to the website…so stay tuned!
Grow Appalachia has seen firsthand the success of this commercial kitchen and the impact it has made in the community. Aside from creating these products that are working towards sustaining the Center, Scott County Grow Appalachia gardeners are also able to bring in their freshly grown produce and have it processed, right at the Center. Those processed goods are later sold by the producer at the Farmers Market. Ample cooking seating space in the kitchen makes it a valuable space for holding workshops, which has also become a successful endeavor of their GA program. To date, sales of “Nicely Done” products have brought in more than $3,700 to the Center. What’s more, it’s incredible to see the rallying from GA participants and Center volunteers developing these products, growing the ingredients, assembling and packaging them, and overall playing their part in ensuring that the Center continues to provide much-needed services to the people of Scott County. Thinking outside of the value-added box has proven highly beneficial to the Scott Christian Care Center, and Grow Appalachia is looking forward to continued ingenuity and quality products from a beautiful facility!
Nicely done, SCCC!
For more information about the SCCC Grow Appalachia program and the commercial kitchen: