A series of value-added workshops for small and midsized fruit and vegetable producers and food processors will be offered starting next week.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture will bring the classes to Mount Vernon, Puyallup and Wenatchee beginning April 24.

WSDA education and outreach specialist Fred Berman will coordinate the workshops. Sessions will help growers divert part of their crop into direct sales or value-added processing to diversify their revenue, reduce market risk and give them greater control over their markets, pricing and the bottom line, he said.

"We will conduct a series of roundtables with 12 to 18 people at each," Berman said in a prepared statement. "Farmers and small processors will be included together to share ideas, experiences and knowledge to develop self-sustaining teams to mutually support each other's efforts."

Topics will include direct marketing, opportunities for adding value, commercializing a product, market research, food safety, financing and co-packing options.

A USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and Cascade Harvest Coalition will support the workshops:

* Mount Vernon, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, April 24-May 15

* Puyallup, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, April 25-May 16

* Wenatchee, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 26-May 17

Information: Fred Berman, 360-656-5063, fberman@agr.wa.gov

Registration: http://valueaddedseries.eventbrite.com

-- Steve Brown

Recommended for you