On Farm Food Processing

Processing Food for Sale from Your Connecticut On-farm Residential Kitchen

Are you a farmer interested in processing jams, jellies, acidified foods (pickles, relishes), or maple syrup from your on-farm residential kitchen? Connecticut regulations allow farmers, using the fruits and vegetables they grow, to manufacture these foods in their home kitchen with the intent to sell them at farmers markets or on-farm stands or retail operations.

The University of Connecticut Extension, in cooperation with the University of Rhode Island, is conducting a two day workshop to help farmers considering starting a small food processing business in their residential kitchen. The course will be held May 14 and 19 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Middlesex County Extension Center, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam, Connecticut. Preregistration is required and space is limited.

Session 1, on May 14th will address exploring the on-farm value added food production as a business option. This session will include: what you should know about regulations and on-farm processing; understanding the potential food safety risks in your on-farm processing kitchen; managing a risky food business with risk management planning; and considerations when you want to scale up to produce a larger quantity and/or variety of products. This session is geared to help farmers determine the costs and benefits of starting a home kitchen-based food processing business—to help them make decisions about going forward.

Session 2, on May 19th, will address product, process, and facility food safety controls for the residential farm kitchen. This session will include: sanitation for the residential processing kitchen; canning processes and food safety controls for jams, jellies, acidified foods and maple syrup; and writing a food safety plan. We will also demonstrate how to test sanitizers for concentration and how to use a pH meter.

To register by May 8 or to answer questions you may have about the course, contact Diane Wright Hirsch, Extension Educator at diane.hirsch@uconn.edu or by phone at 203.407.3163.