Creating and Marketing Value-Added Orchard Products

Project Overview

FW08-030
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Nicholas Salle
Salle Orchards
Co-Investigators:
Billie Jean Salle
Salle Orchards

Commodities

  • Fruits: apples, apricots, peaches, pears, general tree fruits
  • Nuts: walnuts

Practices

  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study, value added

    Summary:

    The Salle family works hard to create a viable farm enterprise that can be passed down to another generation of farmers. In light of current economic pressures caused by factors such as increased labor and gas prices and decreased consumer demand, the project “Creating & Marketing Value-Added Orchard Products” has contributed significantly to the financial viability of our farm. The goal was to preserve foods by drawing on family traditions and natural methods to can, dry and flavor our crops and then market the value-added product to specialty stores, as well as through direct sales. We approached each project with the enthusiasm of a promising new future.

    Ironically, our lack of knowledge probably helped make it a successful venture. Otherwise we would of been overwhelmed by the regulatory requirements and start-up costs. As of today, we have launched a very beautiful web site, designed literature and labels fitting for our product line, perfected our marketing practices and, most importantly, created several value-added products that have brought added income and recognition to our farm.

    We have created a learning tool for other small farms by chronicling our process through a blog. Most importantly, the project has revitalized our passion for farming and ensured the future of Salle Orchards.

    Project objectives:

    • Establish project documentation on blog to discuss farm branding and product marketing including advertising, pricing and distribution, as well as other topics

      Meet with local gourmet stores and schools to assess interest in purchasing value-added products

      Construct fruit drying racks and upload “how-to” tutorial online

      Decide on custom processors (e.g. to make honey roasted walnuts)

      Hire graphic designer/marketing communications consultants to prepare product labels and promotional materials

      Begin production of value-added products

      Launch website to increase awareness and visibility of farm and products

      Announce blog content to key contacts and through media releases

      Finalize preliminary promotional materials (business cards, product labels, product fact sheets, recipe cards, etc.)

      Test email marketing as promotional tactic

      Continue to identify and assess new market opportunities, including e-commerce

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.