Local Food: Food Processing

Local Food: Food Processing

Local Food: Food Processing

Farm to Table: Building Local and Regional Food Systems

Food processing for local markets can be challenging for a small-scale business. Learn about a variety of methods and available infrastructure for processors in the subtopics below.

Animal Processing | Harvest Handling | Value-Added Processing

Local Food: Food Processing: Animal Processing

Building an On-Farm Poultry Processing Facility


Plan and construct a mobile poultry processing unit or stationary facility for on-farm processing.

Download File (3.38 MB)

Guide to Designing a Small Red Meat Plant


Learn how to construct, expand or upgrade a locker-type meat plant.

Download File (4.60 MB)

Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processors


Apply for a license to process poultry using a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU). 

Download File (1.83 MB)

Iowa Meat Processors’ Resource Guidebook


A guide to building, upgrading or expanding a small meat processing facility in Iowa.

Download File (1.37 MB)

Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Farm and Food Safety Management Guide


Food safety information for mobile poultry processing units or stationary on-farm facilities.

Download File (3.00 MB)

Safer Management Practices for Small Poultry Processors in Missouri


This booklet contains descriptions and photos of safe on-farm poultry processing practices.

Download File (559.88 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (an eXtension.org community of practice)

Slaughter and Meat Processing (reports and resources by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)  

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Local Food: Food Processing: Harvest Handling

Expanding Winter Harvest and Sales for New England Vegetable Crops


This University of Massachusetts website offers resources on winter vegetable crop storage, marketing and low-cost season extension through structures such as hoop houses and low tunnels. 

Harvesting Crops for Market


This plain language guide has information on when to harvest vegetables, how to prepare produce for harvest, and safe handling of produce after harvest.

Download File (1.42 MB)

Innovative Field to Market Washer


This washer reduced labor needs and water use, and increased farm productivity and profitability.

Download File (1.49 MB)

Video Series: Efficient and Safe Food Handling Processes


Low-cost techniques that help farms reduce labor needs and expenses during harvest, wash and pack. 

Wholesale Packing Resource Guide


This plain language guide is for farmers and ranchers interested in selling to supermarkets, produce distributors, restaurants and institutions.

Download File (816.09 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Post-Harvest Handling Decision Tool (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)

Postharvest Technology Center (University of California, Davis)

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Local Food: Food Processing: Value-Added Processing

Agripreneur Training Program Materials


Materials developed to train Latino immigrants interested in starting a free-range poultry business. Incluye el currículo en español.

Download File (417.77 kB)

Camelina: Seed to Oil Video


This short documentary follows a Minnesota family as they grow and locally press organic Camelina Oil.

Direct Marketing for Farmers and Ranchers


The Imperial Stock Ranch increased profits by using direct, value-added marketing of wool products.

Growing the Pasture-Grazed Dairy Sector in Wisconsin


This report and video summarize results of comprehensive research on pasture-based dairy products.

Download File (2.54 MB)

Safe and Profitable Oil Production Fact Sheets


Information on edible oil production for small-scale producers. 

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Shared-Use Kitchen Planning Toolkit (a guide from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)

Value-added agriculture centers (a list of centers around the country by the Ag Marketing Resource Center)

Value-added and Processing (a collection of ATTRA publications)

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Product specs
Format: Topic Rooms
Year: 2013


From Pasture to Plate: Exploring Grass-Based Dairy


This video explores the potential of grass-based dairy products in Wisconsin. It was created by a research team evaluating the production, marketing and positioning of pasture-based dairy products, to help dairy farmers earn premium prices from them.

Andrea Godshalk5 (NC-LW)

Interested in using high tunnels and other season extension techniques to increase local food sales?

Check out the High Tunnels and Other Season Extension Techniques Topic Room.

Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing a SARE Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF) or the four-page topic brief, Building Local and Regional Food Systems.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a USDA-wide effort to share information about grants, loans, tools, resources and stories related to local and regional food systems.