Small-scale, diversified vegetable farmers in Missouri and Kansas would like to explore the viability of adding value to their beet root production by partnering with a local distillery to create a small-batch, double-distilled beet spirit. Economically, we hope to create a high-value product made exclusively out of locally-sourced raw materials that the farmers and distillery can share profits from. If successful, this project has the potential to open up a new sales outlet for small-farm crops. Beets are an especially promising crop for this endeavor both for their high sugar content (for converting into alcohol during the fermentation process) and their relative ease of production in our region. Developing this market for farmers may also prove to be a helpful way to strengthen crop rotations on the farms and better integrate cover crops during the summer months.This project has lots of variable potential onto which others can add: Which varieties of beets make the best spirit? Can other locally produced crops be similarly distilled, like sweet potatoes or carrots?
Project objectives from proposal:
- Produce at least 4 tons of beets on the partner farms, including sugar beets and garden varieties
- Distill beet mash and taste-test with farmers, customers and mixologists to develop recipe
- Market finished product locally
- Evaluate the economic impact for farmers
- Note the environmental impact of cover crop integration and crop rotation on small farms facilitated during beet root production
- Share findings through social media, magazine articles and tastings