The New Crops Project is designed to increase the availability of local, hard-to-find foods such as:
quinoa, spelt, currants, sea buckthorn, and herbs such as nettle and burdock, and many more. In doing this, SFA hopes to help guarantee a market for farmers while increasing the variety of Minnesota grown foods available to consumers.
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New Crops Project Field Day • Aug. 23, 2013 • Staples, Minn.
- Specialty Crops Demonstration Plot: A small, regional trial of 10 novel cereals and foodstuffs that may have a future in Minnesota such as spelt, teff, amaranth, and low-gluten corn.
- Pest & Disease Management in your Home Orchard: Fruit scientist Thaddeus McCamant conducted a walk-and-talk in the Center’s orchards on identification and treatment of fruit tree diseases and pest problems.
- Local Fuels from A to Z: The “Distributed Energy” concept: Bob Schafer, an industry expert in bio-fuels generation and alternative fuels, visited canola and camelina fields as well as an oilseed press, a small tractor using canola oil, and growing, processing and utilizing oilseed crops on the farm.
- Viticulture for Northern Minnesota: Oenologist Dennis Emslie Drummond presented his remarkable wine grape trial, including an overview of varietal characteristics, training systems, and issues for viticulture in the north.
What are the goals of the New Crops Project?
- Identify and quantify the demand for specific new and hard-to-find crops among natural and organic food consumers who are looking for local sources of those foods.
- Present findings to SFA farmer-members and assess the need for additional production education around these specific crops.
- Develop educational programs to assist farmers in learning how to grow, harvest and market specialty crops
- Assist the retail market in making these foods available in a way that is beneficial to consumers and producers.
With the results of this survey, we have the information to entice and encourage Minnesota farmers to explore and engage in the production of new, hard-to-find crops and foods that Minnesota consumers are looking for. This information will not only help direct the avenues that SFA pursues with the new copra project, but will be used to help farmers learn more about what is in demand amongst consumers. SFA is seeking to help farmers learn what consumers are interested in, helping to guarantee them a market for their goods, and help consumers find more local sources for the hard to find foods that they desire.