The Value of Value Added Products from Farm to Farm Market
Gail Dawn of Letcher, SD grows a variety of vegetables, melons, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs and flowers on their 180 acre farm. Gail and her husband Jordan perform all the planting and harvesting by hand and market their products at a farm market stand in Mitchell. The Enormous Brontosaurus Organic Farm has been USDA-MOSA certified and has been following a sustainable and organic practice since 1990.
They obtained a grant from SARE to determine which value added products made from the raw materials on their farm, produce the greatest economic benefits. The goal of this SARE project was to help discover what items that they could produce on the farm that would help them become more economically independent.
The process included a cost and income evaluation of 10 value added products that were sold either on their farm or through their farm market. They compared the income from the raw products to the income from the valued added products and found the best results with products that required little effort to produce and were in high demand by consumers. A few of the products that have performed well include Basil and Dried Tomato Pesto, Fresh Salsas, Jams and Jellies. “We know that fresh sells and food sells in this market niche,” explained Gail.
Overall the results from their project were exceptionally valuable and have learned a lot about the products they produce and their markets. Gail points out, “Without the grant we would not have looked at all the aspects of producing and selling these products nor prospects for the future. It gave us the inspiration and financial aid to follow through with some ideas we had been thinking about to increase our farm’s financial sustainability.”