Arkansas – SARE Southern

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Developing Value-added Products from Surplus Produce at Farmers’ Markets

University of Arkansas has created educational resources to assist farmers in developing value-added products from surplus produce at farmers markets.

According to a graduate student study funded by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program, Researcher Renee Threlfall and Morgan Gramlich, a graduate student, were interested in identifying top available produce items at a local Arkansas farmers’ market, and determining which types of value-added products would be most profitable to farmers when developed. The research resulted in two fact sheets about creating value-added products using surplus produce.

According to research results, the five most popular items that are highly available throughout the season were squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes. The high availability was correlated to low prices due to the surplus. Therefore, researchers suggested that produce available in large quantities could be used to create value-added products.

For example, salsa, tomato sauce, and pickles.

The fact sheet “Producing Value-added Food Products from Surplus Farm Produce” outlines the steps required to produce value-added products using surplus produce from farmers’ markets. It also outlines the rules and regulations that must be followed for production.

Furthermore, researchers identified the economic potential for value-added products, particularly tomato sauce made from surplus tomatoes. They identified the top three costs of tomato sauce production: labor, facility rental, and jars/labels. The fact sheet “Cost of Developing Value-added Food Products from Surplus Produce” presented a cost analysis for producing value-added food products using surplus produce at a food processing facility. It was designed to assess the economic potential of implementing value-added systems in a business model.

The project’s purpose was to improve local food systems by finding untested sustainable ways to use surplus produce.

SARE in Arkansas

The Arkansas SARE program is a joint initiative between the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and University of Arkansas. Arkansas SARE works with researchers, extension faculty, producers, and community organizers to find and implement the top science-based available practices in every aspect of Arkansas’ agriculture system.

You can also read more about Farm Certifications – SARE Southern.

Arkansas Impacts

  • $7.4 million in funding since 1988
  • 102 projects funded since 1988

You can also read about the Alabama – SARE Southern and the Florida – SARE Southern.

Professional Development Program

In each state, agricultural educators work directly alongside farmers and ranchers to promote sustainable agriculture production and marketing. SARE state agricultural coordinators offer support in sustainable agriculture education and outreach strategies through a program called “The Professional Development Program” (PDP).

Fellows Program

The Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program is offered by SARE and NACAA. It enhances Cooperative Extension staff’s knowledge of sustainable agriculture and gives them broad-based national exposure to unique and successful sustainable agriculture programs.

State Contacts

SARE State Coordinators play a vital role in expanding sustainable agriculture training for Extension, NRCS and other agricultural professionals. This will help producers transition to a more sustainable farming system.

Henry English

Extension Specialist/Small Farm Program

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Email | (807) 575-7246

Amanda McWhirt

Director Experiment Station

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension

Email | (501) 671-2229

You can see more Farm Grants for Females elsewhere on this website.