The Farm & Food Business Incubator
The Farm & Food Business Incubator provides business training and value-added product development for new and developing farm and food entrepreneurs.
“The perfect storm is upon us,” explained CADE’s Executive Director, Rebecca Morgan. “With increased market maturation in regional foods, continued drought in the West and Southeast, and new distribution models to connect producers to northeast consumers, this is the right time to grow our regional farm businesses. The Incubator will help farmers with marketing, finance and growth, and connect them to Cobleskill’s processing facilities to command higher prices through value-added production.”
Lucky Dog Local Food Hub
The Lucky Dog Local Food Hub works with farm and food businesses from the Catskills to the Fingerlakes to offer high-quality farm products to a growing number of chefs and retailers in New York City. Hub products include: produce, dairy, eggs, poultry meats, sugars and specialty items such as pastas and baked goods.
The Hub offers the following services to small farms looking to expand into the NYC market:
- Promotion of your products to a growing list of buyers through its weekly catalog
- On-the-ground matching with buyers committed to purchasing from our small local farms
- Transportation of your products to these NYC buyers
- Quarterly workshops focused on preparing small farmers to utilize the Hub
- NYC buyer tours offering unique opportunities to discuss your farm and products with select restaurant and retail buyers
- Targeted consulting to prepare your farm to utilize the Hub in the coming months and years (examples include pricing guidance, crowd funding campaign assistance, website creation, etc.)
Challenged for decades by a lack of access to the NYC market, farmers in the Catskills are now able to send their products to our neighbors to the south.
Producers and buyers can get involved any time!
- Producers should start by reviewing the Producer Manual and Agreement and contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
- Buyers can sign up to receive the weekly catalog by submitting the form found here
The Hub is based in Hamden, at Lucky Dog Organic Farm. All product for transport must be delivered to the Hub.
Value-added Dairy Technical Assistance & Education
CADE is partnering with regional dairy farmers to explore value-added product development with a grant from the Community Foundation of South Central New York.
The program offers technical assistance, as well as workshops and other events.
Technical Assistance: Farmers may apply for no-charge one-on-one consulting to assist in the development or marketing of value-added dairy products. Consulting topics may include business and marketing planning, product development, brand development, sales outreach and more. First-come, first-served.
Workshops and Events: CADE will offer workshops and events for area dairy farmers interested in starting or expanding their value-added production. Such events may include tours of on-farm micro-creameries, presentations by industry experts, and educational seminars to improve business practices.
Over the past couple of years, CADE has been working with hundreds of dairy farmers in Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie and Sullivan counties; all local commercial and on-farm dairy processing plants; over one hundred potential New York City buyers; and our regional farm service organizations and schools. Through educational workshops and meetings to introduce farmers to new market opportunities, CADE has been building the capacity of dairy farmers and receiving constant feedback from them and new obstacles they face in securing sustainable milk prices. In 2014, at the request of the dairy farmers we serve, CADE published an extensive market feasibility study The Cream of the Crop from Barn to Shop: Value Added Dairy Accessing NYC Markets. The study itself synthesizes national and local market data, a survey of regional assets, and interviews with New York City buyers and national experts on farmer-driven and industry-driven dairy product development. These activities are the result of this study.
Farmers are invited to request technical assistance at any time. Educational opportunities will be announced as details are finalized.
Community Creameries for Value-Added Experimentation
Farmers and others interested in developing value-added dairy products may access processing facilities at three local farms to experiment with their own products as a result of an USDA Rural Business Enterprise grant that allowed for the purchase of equipment at each creamery.
Participants may experiment with a variety of products such as butter, bottled milk, yogurt and ricotta.
While there is a greater need for dairy farmers to access more of the value-added available market share, few farmers have the knowledge and skills to enter into the new business finished products and marketing them in a competitive industry. The region's commercial dairy processing facilities are at capacity or unable to take on new producers. Constructing on-farm creameries is an answer for some family dairies, yet the costs and learning curve is high, making it unrealistic for each farm to get into the business of making and selling their own products in addition to the already demanding job of running their own farms. Community creameries allow for experimentation before on-farm expansion.
Each creamery has developed their own schedule for community use which will be shared upon inquiry.
The following farms offer processing capability: Cowbella, Painted Goat and Kortright Creek Creamery. Contact Lauren Melodia at email@example.com for more information.
The Hop Aboard! program offers educational opportunities to existing and aspiring hops farmers.
CADE, through the support through a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the O'Connor Foundation, facilitate the collaboration of a regional hops farm group and develop and host hops-specific educational opportunities.
Hops are by nature an ingredient crop that are almost primarily sold in business to business transactions. Because hops require processing, packaging, and then brewing before the final product reaches the end consumer, hops carry a higher economic multiplier value than conventional fruit and vegetable crops that can be consumed raw or minimally processed. The craft beverage industry represents opportunity for small businesses in rural populations that rely on tourist traffic local patrons from villages and towns. The dedication of brewers to local hop varieties represents a solid market opportunity for small-scale hops production, processing, and packaging.
Join us for a Hop Aboard! Yard Walk on June 18th.
The Yard Walk will take place at Braunius Hop Farm and Split Maple Farm. Visit our Events page for more details.