Value-Added Products

Compiled from the Farm Focus E-Newsletter

Whether cleaning and cooling, packaging, processing, distributing, cooking, combining, churning, culturing, grinding, hulling, extracting, drying, smoking, handcrafting, spinning, weaving, labeling, or packaging your own or others raw locally-grown ingredients, these processed products can offer you a higher financial return, open up new markets, lengthen the market season and quench some of the consumer demand for locally-produced products.

How many Monadnock Region farmers are currently producing value-added products?  According to a recent Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD) report, 16 out of 39 of farmers interviewed said they produce value-added goods–and 10 said they would like to start.

If value-added products mean more profit, why aren’t more of us producing these products? Farmers told the CCCD that infrastructure costs, especially in cheese production, were their biggest obstacle.  Lack of time and start-up expenses were also identified as barriers.

How can infrastructure and the other costs of developing a product be reduced?  Investigate our region’s Commercial Kitchens and learn about other state and national resources that can assist with the development of new value-added and specialty products.

Question from one value-added producer:  I sell to retail markets on consignment. How can I make sure my product is consumed before the expiration date? One idea I have is to sell to markets that also have a deli.  I could encourage the chefs or cooks to use the product, once it gets close to its expiration date, in a special dish.  Are there ways that you avoid having your product returned to you?  Email us your suggestions or other questions.