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New Mexico State University

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NMSU farmers' market workshop slated for Las Cruces

How does a grower take advantage of direct marketing at a farmers' market? That question and many more will be answered at a workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at New Mexico State University's Gerald Thomas Hall, room 200, not room 25 as stated in the Jan 5 release. The $10 registration fee includes lunch and workshop materials.

The event is sponsored by NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, the New Mexico Farmers' Market Association and Farm to Table.

"With 58 farmers' markets now in New Mexico, there is more demand than ever for locally grown food," said Denise Miller, executive director of the New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association. Gross sales have been on the rise, but in many cases farmers can use some outside assistance to help make their operations more profitable. These workshops connect farmers to new ideas and good resources for working into the future."

With the increased opportunities to market their produce through farmers' markets, growers can get help from NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service to increase their profits through the sale of high-value crops and value-added products.

"Farmers' markets are a growing direct-marketing arena where the business transaction occurs between the grower and the consumer. Through these workshops we want to help producers reduce their risk and increase their profits," said Michael Patrick, NMSU Extension community resource and economic development specialist, who is coordinating the program, which is funded by the Western Center for Risk Management Education and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Growers attending the workshop will learn from NMSU Extension specialists Stephanie Walker and Ron Walser about specialty crops like eggplant, okra, tomatoes, pomegranate, pears and berries. Karim Martinez, Dona Ana County Extension home economist, will show attendees how to create value-added products such as jams and jellies.

The business side of direct marketing - producing for profit by selecting specialty crops and products, evaluating costs and returns, developing a business plan, and merchandizing and marketing - will be presented by Michael Patrick and Anil Rupasingha, Extension community resource and economic development specialists, and Carlos Mayen Solorzano, assistant professor of agricultural economics and agricultural business.

The program will also feature the following presentations:

?Understanding state regulations regarding producing value-added products in home kitchens and commercial kitchens will be presented by Nancy Flores, Extension food technology specialist.

?Season extension by using greenhouses will be presented by Del Jimenez, Extension agricultural specialist, and Jeff Anderson, Dona Ana County Extension agricultural agent.

?Weed control will be discussed by Jamshid Ashigh, Extension weed specialist.

?Organic production and organic certification will be presented by Sally Harper, Del Valle Pecans.

To register call Rosanne Lehman at (575) 646-3215.