Staff Report

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Farmers and gardeners are often interested in turning their surplus products and favorite recipes into a food manufacturing business. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, honey or other farm products can be processed jams and jellies, salsas and chow chows, juices and wines, breads, pies or any number of other value-added products.

“Turning products into profit, however, takes planning and patience,” says Megan Bruch Leffew, marketing specialist with University of Tennessee Extension Center for Profitable Agriculture. “There is a lot more to consider than most people initially think.”

“Whether canning, pickling, drying, baking, fermenting or freezing, starting a food processing business is challenging,” according to Nathan Miller, Extension assistant for food safety in the UT Department of Food Science. “Understanding food manufacturing regulations and learning how to produce foods safely are vital pieces of the food processing puzzle.”

To help producers interested in starting their own food processing enterprises, UT Extension is once again offering Pennsylvania State Extension’s popular food processing education program to Tennessee. Food for Profit workshops take participants step by step through the information necessary to start and run a small food product business. The workshop provides information that participants will be able to use immediately to ensure that their business starts out and grows in a way that matches their vision and goals. Topics covered include the realities of a food business by a local food manufacturer, regulatory requirements, packaging, safe food handling, marketing, financing, and developing a game plan.

The workshop will be offered in two locations this winter. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required five business days prior to the workshops.

Food for Profit will be held January 31 in Lebanon at the Wilson County Ag Center. Register by January 23 for this event at https://tiny.utk.edu/FFP. Registration fee of $30 per person. Contact Megan Bruch Leffew with questions at mleffew@utk.edu or call 931-486-2777.

Food for Profit will also be held February 12, in Unicoi at the Town of Unicoi Tourist Information Center and will include a tour of the new Mountain Harvest Kitchen. Register online by February 7 at https://mountainharvestkitchen-foodforprofit.eventbrite.com. Registration for this event is only $15 per person. Contact Lee Manning at the Mountain Harvest Kitchen with questions at mountainharvestkitchen@gmail.com or call 423-330-9650.

The number of participants at each location is limited. Workshops not having an adequate number of registrations by the early registration deadline may be canceled. Sessions will begin at
9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. local time.

Lunch will be provided. Learn more on the Center for Profitable Agriculture at www.ag.tennessee.edu/cpa.
This workshop qualifies as one course toward the educational requirements to receive 50 percent Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program cost share for ONLY: Fruits and Vegetables and Value-Added producer diversification sectors.

The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a cooperative effort between UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation to help farmers develop value-added enterprises.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.