Direct Marketing of Organic Food with Value-Added Products

eOrganic author:

Garry Stephenson, Oregon State University

The direct marketing of value-added products requires different considerations than selling produce, vegetables, or meat. The following is a list of resources to help you market your value-added products.

Marketing Value-added Products

  • Direct marketing with value-added products (or: "Give me the biggest one of those berry tarts!") J.L. Ohmart. 2003. UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Available at: (verified 4 June 2012).
    Most commonly, value-added products derive from fruit or vegetables that are transformed into gourmet food items. The case study , written by Jeri L. Ohmart of the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, looks at the value-added enterprises of five small independent farmers in Northern California. Interviews reveal that value-added products significantly enhance farmers' businesses, affording them a steady income throughout the year when their sales of fresh produce tend to dip.
    "Typical value-added products include jams, jellies, preserves, fruit sauces and spreads, pickles, preserved vegetables, tapenades, hot chili sauces, extra virgin appellation olive oils, herb-flavored olive oils and vinegars, and salsas. Value-added can also include other types of products: cut flowers, dried flower arrangements, wreaths and wall swatches, braided garlic, painted gourds, dried herbs, sachets, soaps made from home-grown herbs, and herbs grown and sold for medicinal properties. Any product can be considered value-added if it is originally grown by the farmer and increased in value "by labor and creativity.""
  • Value-added products: Where am I going to sell this stuff? [Webinar] G. Myers. Maryland Cooperative Extension and Entrepreneurs and Their Communities Community of Practice. Available at: (verified 4 April 2011).
    Download a copy of the slides at: (verified 4 April 2011)

Market Niches

Niche markets provide many opportunities, but also require different types of market planning and strategies than products aimed at the broader marketplace.

  • What are niche markets? What advantages do they offer? D. Thilmany. 2007. p. 1-1 to 1-6. In K. Curtis (ed.) Niche markets: Assessment and strategy development for agriculture. Western Extension Marketing Committee. (Available online at: (verified 4 April 2011).
    This article briefly summarizes issues to consider when deciding on whether to market to a niche.


Your Own Business Label

Other opportunities exist in developing products from your farm under your own brand for sale through many venues. These products generally require some type of packaging. A distinct logo or label is helpful, as are promotional materials that describe the product and its uniqueness. Small-scale production and marketing of labeled products may be handled entirely by a single farm. However, to meet large demand for products, a cooperative of small growers may be necessary.


Certification of production methods assists in sales to customers who want assurance that the food they are purchasing meets specific standards. In addition to organic certification, there are so called “eco-labels” that inform customers that the product meets other standards as well.

  • Ecolabel value assessment phase II: Consumer perceptions of local foods. R. Priog. 2004. Leopold Center. (Available online at: (verified 4 April 2011).
    "An ecolabel is a seal or logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one important avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably-raised foods. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory in the second phase of a pilot project to conduct consumer market research on food ecolabels and perceptions of locally grown foods."


Published January 19, 2009

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.