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Small Farms Income – Combining Product and Skills – Food

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Value-Adding – Combining Your Edible Agricultural Products & Personal Skills

As a continuation of the theme of combining product with skill – here are more ideas to enhance your agricultural product by the addition of your specific skills.  This creates an end product that stands out from the competition because it offers greater originality.

Bread

It is particularly important to research your market here – because bread is a perishable product and you do not want to be left with loads of stale loves on your hands. Instead of competing with the huge, freely available supplies of commercially produced breads in supermarkets and local shops, find your own specific niche, e.g. olive bread or gluten free bread or breads using unusual grains or extra ingredients. Other possible specializations are covered in the baked goods section below.

Home-baked goods & catering

Selling freshly baked pastries, especially created from products you grow on your farm, can be another way to generate some additional farm revenue. These could also be a quick sell if you have a farm stand at your local farmer’s market.

You might already have the equipment you need, or you will not need to invest much to work this idea from home.  Note: Check out regulations regarding food preparation.

You might wish to move into a specific niche within this field, for example:

  • Organic – only using organic ingredients to appeal to health and environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Gluten-free – providing baked goods for people with gluten allergies.
  • Vegan – specializing in making baked goods that don’t use any egg, dairy or animal-based products to appeal to vegan consumers
  • “Healthy” – baked goods aren’t usually known for their nutritional value but you could aim for options that are a bit healthier than those found at your average bakery, involving less sugar, more fiber, etc.
  • Event snack platters
  • Bulk cookie supplies
  • Packed lunches for office workers in a particular company
  • Cake decoration for novelty cakes for special occasions
  • Wedding cakes
  • Desserts

You can of course go the whole hog and offer an outside catering service or invest in a spit and specialize in hog-roasts for public events.

Candy

There are lots of different types of candy that can be made from your farm products and could be another item that may sell well at your local farmer’s market.

Jams & jellies

You might be eating all the fruit that you can from your fruit trees and trying to sell the remainder. But you can still end up with extra fruit. Jams and jellies are a great way to prevent all of that extra fruit from going to waste. They are also a good way to use up fruit that might be blemished and not possible to sell directly. Even over-ripe fruit that has fallen off the plant can be gathered up for jam-making.

Canned goods

Many people do not want to spend time canning their own vegetables but would love to have organically grown vegetables from a local farm throughout the year. You can consider canning the vegetables you grow on your farm to sell as another way to add value to your farm products.

Dehydrated goods

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables make great snacks and last a very long time. You could consider dehydrating the fruits and vegetables you grow on your farm and selling them for this purpose.

  • Apricots, prunes and other fruits make great portable snacks for taking hiking, plus they store for a long time.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes are also quite an artisanal product that’s in demand.
  • Most vegetables can be dried to make useful, long-lasting, light camping food or emergency rations.

Pickled and Fermented Foods

The health benefits of pickled and fermented foods are becoming increasingly clear and they are gathering in popularity and sale-ability. They can be full of probiotics and contain good amounts of antioxidants depending on the plant.  For a wealth of information, read The Complete Guide to Fermentation by Dr. Patrick Jeff.

Jerky & other dried/smoked meats

Meat can be dehydrated to make jerky (a great snack and loaded with protein), beersticks and other dried meat products. Bacon and sausages can also be smoked and hung.

I have a friend who raises pigs, sends them to the butcher for slaughter and then uses her carefully collected set of recipes to create a variety of (very popular) sausages which she sells at the local market.

Spice Mixes

Consider making spice mixes from herbs and spices grown on your farm. You can use existing recipes or create your own mix or mixes for different purposes and and name the brand after your farm.

dried curry leaves
Dried curry leaves

Pre-made meal kits

What if you sold an entire frozen precooked meal kit from products raised on your farm that only required the buyer to put it in the oven when they were ready to eat it? This could be another way to add value to your existing farm products. You could even include canned items, dehydrated foods, jerky, homemade candy, and pastries as sides.

Fruit juices & cider

You might also consider selling your own fresh-pressed fruit juices, lemonade or cider.

Craft beer

Starting a micro-brewery is a way to get paid for doing something you love – making beer!  However it is a heavily regulated industry and will require detailed research before investing in the necessary equipment.

Pet products

Just like making human treats, pet treats can be made out of farm products you produce.

 

Note: dollar amounts mentioned are given at time of publishing and subject to change.

Please see the Earnings Disclaimer associated with these articles.

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