specialty crop program

With a growing demand for local and healthy food, more and more growers are working to meet this demand of specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and flowers.  However, the links between supply and demand are not as easily created as one may suspect.  Pests, disease, climate, food safety, regulations, processing, marketing, distribution and financing are some of the factors that growers must manage.

Renewing the Countryside has created a plan that will accelerate both the supply of and demand for edible specialty crops in Southern Minnesota and surrounding regions.  We are aiming to:

  1. Increase supply and sales of edible specialty crops by local producers;

  2. Increase the profitability and sustainability of these producers; and

  3. Expand awareness and support for locally grown, edible specialty crops in Southern Minnesota


How will we accomplish this?  We are working on two components to generate the supply and demand for specialty crops:

  1. Post Harvest Handling Workshops: Provide post-harvest handling training to current and aspiring specialty crop farmers (see dates here and below).

  2. Specialty Crop Enhancement Teams: Implementing specialty crop enhancement teams to work directly with producers to identify the obstacles and challenges of their operation.  A plan will be made and/or additional technical assistance advice brought in to assist the producer to overcome those obstacles so they can improve and grow their business.  

To learn more about the Specialty Crop Enhancement Team program, click here.


 These workshops and specialty crop enhancement teams will be occurring and working throughout 2015-2016.



Upcoming Workshops

Post Harvest Handling Workshops

Renewing the Countryside and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture will be hosting four half day workshops during March 2015 (see below).  These workshops will be presented by farmers Lisa Baker of Bakers’ Acres, Laura Frerichs of Loon Organics and Joan Olson of Prairie Drifter Farm and will cover a range of topics (see below).  Cost to attend includes lunch.  Workshop attendees will also get a discounted rate for the Wholesale Success book which can be purchased at the workshop with cash, check or money order.

Topics covered:

Harvest, respiration, cleaning & cooling, packing area, infrastructure, sorting & grading, storage, packing & packaging, transport, and display & point-of-sale.


Click on preferred date or location to be directed to purchase tickets or email Devon at devon@rtcinfo.org if you'd like to pay at the event with cash or check.

March 3rd, 2015- St. Charles, MN

March 5th, 2015- Fairmont, MN

March 20th, 2015- Little Falls, MN

March 25th, 2015- Cannon Falls, MN


Post Harvest Workshop Sponsors:

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