Participants discussed a number of reasons why processing, especially for vegetables, is in the forefront of the regionâ€™s food movement. There is a regional history of collaboration between cities and counties, a history of raising cash crops, land available for increasing production, and a documented demand for processed vegetables. There is a strong interest in community-based processing (such as through a co-operative business structure) and many collaborators and resources to make it happen. Furthering development of a robust processing sector in the region will give small-mid-size farmers more market options, build the local economy, and further sustainability goals.
- Who is working on this issue in the region?
- How do we best address food safety concerns?
- Where do we find business development support? Where do we learn the ins-and-outs of facilty design, mechanical systems, sanitation, regulations, etc.
We would like to encourage your participation in continuing conversations. Please step forward by posting a comment below or by emailing us.Â If you have suggestions on how we can proceed please donâ€™t hesitate to share them.
We see processing as the best choice for utilizing regional produce specifically for many reasons. The fresh produce market is swollen in our area between farm markets, CSAs, roadside stands, etc. There are plenty of opportunities for people to make an easy purchase during the appropriate season. Processing not only adds value but also eliminates the revenue seasonality of these crops.
Having worked for years in produce packing/sorting and processing industries I see this option as having the most potentially wide-spread impact the fastest.