Selling value-added products can be profitable for farmers and can also get complicated. The Texas Center for Local Food is working with our partners to develop this page and other resources to guide you through the process. Farmers and other food entrepreneurs can make some processed foods in their home or on-farm kitchens under the Texas Cottage Food Law. Many products require use of a commercial kitchen. Post your comments at the bottom of this page to help develop this resource!
SARE "BEYOND FRESH"*
A research and education project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) funded by Southern SARE, May 2015 and completed May, 2018. This research and education project benefits family farmers and rural economies in Texas by stimulating the profitable production of value-added goods from sustainably-grown fruits and vegetables.
Get the Beyond Fresh Workbook! Buy a hardcopy or download the free PDF.
Calculator: NCAT Commercial Kitchen Hourly Rental
PDF Instructions: NCAT Template Instructions Commercial Kitchen Hourly Rental
Calculator: NCAT Commercial Kitchen Long Term Lease
PDF Instructions: NCAT Template Instructions Commercial Kitchen Long Term Lease
Calculator: NCAT Commercial Kitchen Build Operate
PDF Instructions: NCAT Calculator Instructions Commercial Kitchen Build Operate
You can use this Excel worksheet in the kitchen while you test products to jot down some information you will need later for the calculators:
Data Collection Worksheet for Costing of Value-Added Product
Because people will use a variety of spreadsheet software packages to work in the calculators - these observations may be helpful to you. If you find additional helpful hints that should be added to this list - please comment at the bottom of this page.
1. When using online software options just "viewing" you may see the icon for the link to an embedded PDF instruction file .... but once you "Open" the file there may be an error message saying links to external data won't work and that icon for linking to the PDF may not show up anymore. Instead - just download that exact PDF instruction file from this page instead!
2. When using regular Microsoft Excel.... and the icon is visible .... a single-left-click may not seem to do anything. You can also just download the PDF instruction file above or:
2a. A double left click on the icon seems to open the PDF but it may immediately put Excel back on top so it may not appear to have opened the instruction file unless you're watching very carefully.
2b. A single-right-click on the icon should pull a menu - choose "Acrobat Document Option" - follow the right arrow, and THEN there's an option for "Open" ..... which opens the PDF instruction file.
Contacts for the project:
Mike Morris, Project Manager, NCAT Texas program office, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Maggiani, NCAT Texas program office, email@example.com
Sue Beckwith, Exec Director of the Texas Center for Local Food, Elgin, Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org
* This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
under award number RD309-129/S000753.
National Center for Home Food Preservation - A great guide to home food preservation.
Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center - Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Incredible facility built to keep money for processing Oklahoma agricultural products in Oklahoma. Their talented staff help value-added businesses from small to huge. We are proud to be their partner!
The Starting Block - West Michigan regional kitchen incubator located in Hart, MI. Great folks working hard to keep their rural economy alive and well through local food production. Eager to help others with affordable consulting rates.
This USDA series about Food Hubs draws on national data and case studies to understand why some have failed in an effort to learn from their mistakes and identify general lessons so new and existing food hubs can overcome barriers to success.
Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4
MORE to come! Know of a great kitchen incubator? Let us know at AskMe@TexasLocalFood.org.
The City of Austin's food systems work is the best in the state. Their site has an excellent list of reports about Austin and central Texas.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology has a Texas office full of talented people to support food systems work. Call on them!
Opportunities Rise for Food Processing in Michigan summarizes the economic development work in Michigan around local food processing. (Crain's Detroit Business August 8, 2016)
Vermont Food Venture Center - food business incubator serving food entrepreneurs and farmers (Hardwock, VT). Read more about Hardwick in the book "The Town That Food Saved" (link to Amazon or buy at your Texas indpendent bookseller)
Local Farms, Local Kids video shows Montana processing local farmers' crops to feed children through Farm-to-School. Terrific video overview.
Dehydrators - (i) Information doc (PDF 17MB) includes DIY and commercial dehydrators from Food Mech LLC developed by our partners Dr. Tim Bowser and Dr. Rodney Holcomb of the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University. [developed with the National Center for Appropriate Technology with partial funding from Southern SARE as supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number RD309-129/S000753.] (ii) Solar Dehy from Indiana (startup in 2016) (iii) More science-tested dehydrators to be added!