A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
What does a farmer do with the portion of their fruit and vegetable harvests that are cosmetically imperfect, and often less profitable to sell, but otherwise are perfectly good products to eat?Paul Fuller of Sweet Creek Foods has a solution. His cannery offers a co-packing service to growers that cost-effectively enables them to create added value out of their grade 2 fresh products, and to reach additional markets with their own established brand and product labels. It’s not just the machinery to process the food, it’s also the assistance with marketing, design of labels, and distribution that provides the farmer with the full set of tools to help them grow their own business.
As costs for farmers continues to rise, finding ways to create added value products out of the mix of crops that farmers grow, is increasingly an important element to insure the continued viability of the farm.
Fuller wants to help promote a regional food system, and for him, that means building for long-term stability, accepting a form of “static growth”, to allow others to also participate in the same market.
In this largely, hyper-competitive, capitalist driven society of today, by contrast, Fuller does not drift far from his early hippy roots. Somehow he manages to maintain his footing in the entrepreneurial world, with a decidedly more cooperative, generous approach to conducting business that not only seems to answer to a higher calling, it also seems to work.