February 1, 2015 by Buffy
Farmer Rick and I attending a very interesting workshop yesterday at the University of Arkansas food science department which is the home of the Arkansas Food Innovation Center. This first workshop was a brief overview on what all is involved in the process of going from Farmer Rick’s homegrown tomato to Hoyt’s Hot Salsa bottled and in a grocery store near you!
The workshop is focused on helping entrepreneurs in developing and producing value added products from fruits and vegetables. The workshop was sponsored through a grant, “Fostering Enterprise Diversification to Expand Local Community Food Systems.” This workshop was very educational. This is the perfect workshop series for anyone wanting to take a fruit or vegetable product to the commercial market. The workshop was led by a dynamic group of experienced professionals from the university. They have helped many people go from a dream to the reality of marketing a commercial product. We got to sample some products that had been produced at the center. They were amazing. The center is set up to help people with product development, labeling, analytical services and liability issues. Basically, they can help answer your every question and most of their services are free or for a very small charge. They also house a FDA certified/inspected kitchen and food processing plant.
What an amazing resource of people and equipment this Arkansas Food Innovation Center is. There is still time to sign up for the 2nd much more detailed workshop if you are interested. Here is the website with more information. If you’re not in Arkansas I recommend finding a Food Innovation Center near you.
We also learned about Arkansas Cottage food laws (these vary from state to state but each state usually has some sort of Cottage law). In Arkansas a person can produce food items in their home that are not potentially hazardous foods such as bakery products, candy, fruit butter, jams, and jellies. These items can be sold in farmers markets and at festivals. We found this all pretty interesting. I love to make jelly! It might be cool to sell some at the farmers market.
We are very inspired to know this amazing resource is available to us and anyone else who would like to take advantage of it. Who knows maybe someday you will be sitting in front of your t.v. eating Hoyt’s Hot Salsa with Farmer Rick’s famous okra chips! By Buffy