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US (TX): Project explores potential for value-added food products

The final report from a three-year project in Texas that explored potential for value-added food products from sustainably grown fruits and vegetables, led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), has been posted on the SARE website.

The "Beyond Fresh" project investigated whether value-added food products would meet the needs of farmers and increase net incomes. The study confirmed that there are good opportunities for growers, especially for making value-added products at small scale and selling them via direct marketing, taking advantage of Texas Cottage Food Law.

Value-added food products made from locally grown ingredients have real economic development potential in Texas. However, the project revealed that, given production requirements and economics, only a small percentage of these products were likely to be profitable for farmers under "real world conditions." For most direct-market growers, it's not worth the trouble, cost, and risk to leave the farm and use a commercial kitchen. Furthermore, trying to get value-added products onto grocery store shelves is not a realistic goal for most small farms, given conditions of scale and seasonality of produce.

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