Wallace Center Publishes Case Studies of Value-Added Enterprises

      Posted On: April 1, 2009

Reaping the benefits of diversity isn’t just an advantage of the natural world, but also a measure small farmers can encourage in their own business practices. Value-adding is an efficient, low-risk way to diversify income streams in a way that complements current direct-marketing efforts.
The Wallace Center at Winrock International has recently completed a study of selected value-added case studies, highlighting the stories and practical experiences of a range of small-scale farmers, and revealing the Whys and Hows of their choice to create original product lines. These examples – available through www.wallacecenter.org – include those who engaged in value-added enterprises intentionally, as well as others who began by chance or crop windfall.
Pennsylvania’s Tait Farm began their value-added food line in 1986 when a bumper crop of raspberries sat on the canes in pouring rain with no one coming out to pick; their jams and fruit “shrubs” (juice concentrates) are now carried in nearly 200 different outlets, from farmers markets to restaurants to groceries. Kevin and Julie Gaukel’s Wyoming cattle operation is supplemented by their wheat production, 2-3% of which goes into Gaukel Grown & Ground, a value-added line of bread and pancake mixes, and a business addition that helps balance out income through the livestock-lean Fall and Winter months.
Farms and operators interviewed include Darn Hot Peppers, Gaukel Grown & Ground, Stella Cadente, Sweet Briar Farms, Table Mountain Vineyards, Tait Farms, Toigo Orchards, and White Cow Dairy. Their experiences capture first-hand lessons in:
• Researching products and deciding which to pursue;
• Financing value-added operations;
• Testing products at market;
• Building brand familiarity;
• Scaling up into new markets, including retail.
To read these case studies and other documents from the Wallace Center, please visit www.wallacecenter.org.