- Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands, value added
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
Local growers selling at farmers' markets in the United States face challenges of perishable crops and competitive marketplaces often resulting in surplus produce. Value-added foods can be created by processing surplus produce into sauces, jams, dried herbs, or other products that make local food available for consumers which benefits local economies and farmer incomes. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture worked with a farmer's market in Rogers, AR to produce value-added products from market surplus (2018) and to collect data on produce type, availability, and price (2018 and 2019) to assess the economic feasibility of using farmer's market surplus for value-added products. Since the project ends November 15, 2019, we propose to use the data collected and experience gained from the project to produce educational resources for farmer's market managers, vendors, and growers interested in developing their own value-added products from surplus produce. The potential for use of farmer's market surplus for value-added production will be demonstrated by: 1. interpreting data collected on produce type, availability, and price (2018 and 2019), 2. creating educational resources including an infographic (visual image to demonstrate steps to turn surplus produce into value-added products) and a factsheet (how produce availability varies and steps to creating value-added products from surplus produce), and 3. disseminating content by attending farmers' market meetings and hosting workshops on "Using Surplus Produce to Create Value-added Food Products." The overall purpose of this project is to strengthen Arkansas local food systems through unexplored sustainable uses of surplus produce.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Evaluate farmer's market produce item type, availability, and price to identify potential value-added products that could be created from surplus produce;
- Develop educational resources to create value-added production from surplus produce;
- Disseminate content on value-added products created from farmer's market surplus.