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)


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)

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)

A Farmer's Guide to Crop Quality for Wholesale Outlets


A simple guide to crop quality focused on tomatoes, cucurbits and greens, with photos of good and poor crop quality as well as best practices for post-harvest handling.

Download File (3.26 MB)

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)

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. 

Cottage Food Success: A Labeling Guide and Toolkit for Creating Canned Food Products that Sell


Ideas and step-by-step instructions to increase sales of canned products made in your home kitchen under your state’s cottage food law.

Download File (720.75 kB)

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 Godshalk photo

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.