Making Value-Added Goods from the Farm

Kristy Athens

Kristy Athens › Kristy Athens is the author of Get Your Pitchfork On!: The Real Dirt on Country Living (...

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The benefit of including value-added goods to a roster of fresh dairy, meat and produce makes a lot of sense for smaller farmers. Customers will come to enjoy (and hopefully rely on) the expanded offerings, and the producers can enjoy an increase in profit.

Author and homesteader Kristy Athens explains the perks of value-added goods, as well sharing some simple ways for folks to get started on a new venture.

For the most part, Get Your Pitchfork On! deals only with “farming” for one’s personal use, not for retail sale and certainly not for wholesale. However, I do discuss the idea of improving your profit margin on farm-based products by processing them into something more preserv-able and elaborate. This is generally known as “value-added.”

Take raspberries. Delicious. A country favorite! But they are extremely delicate and spoil quickly. If you plan to sell raspberries, your choices are:

  • Minimize transportation by selling them at the end of your driveway, or hosting a you-pick field (which brings a raft of other considerations).
  • Package them in those decidedly not-environmentally friendly plastic clamshell boxes.
  • Expect a large rate of damage, which is basically a financial loss (even if you eat the “losses” yourself).

But—if you take those same raspberries and make them into jam, syrup, or any number of other food items, you not only increase the price and eliminate loss by damage, you have something that travels well and has a much longer shelf-life.

Same with something like lavender. As a fresh crop, it’s basically just good-smelling purple flowers on sticks. But take those flowers and weave them into a wreath, or strip the flowers into a potpourri, or twist them into “fairy wands,” and you’ve got yourself a lovely home décor item! Or, get a little more involved and crush them to extract the oil for soap, lotion and other toiletries.

Click here to read the rest of the article over at Get Your Pitchfork On!

This article originally appeared on Get Your Pitchfork On! It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

How do you make the most out of your garden or farm bounty?

Photo Credit: Mary Athens