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Processing in local foods involves preserving and adding value to foods. Different types of processing include refrigeration, canning, freezing, drying to preserve foods; washing, chopping, bagging so that foods are more consumer-ready; mixing ingredients for new products like jams, salsas, sauces, sausages, baked goods, prepared meals. This page links to information and resources regarding the processing and packaging of local food products.

Diagram of food system elements

On This Page

Fruit, Vegetable & Herb Processing
Meat, Dairy & Egg Processing
Value-Added Resources
Shared-Use Kitchens
Food Safety

Fruit, Vegetable & Herb Processing

  • Manufacturing Jelly and Preserve Products: Guidance on food safety and applicable regulations for the production of jelly and preserves.
  • For Safety’s Sake: Pickle and Pickle Product Problems: Troubleshooting for producers of pickles and pickle products, explaining which abnormalities in pickles are safe and which indicate contamination.
  • Herbal Foods: Guidance for safe production of herbal foods, including explanations of applicable regulations. Developed by N.C. State University.
  • Medicinal Plants: World Health Organization guidelines (2003) on good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) for medicinal plants.

Meat, Dairy & Egg Processing

  • Niche Meat Processing: Find Extension and NC Choices niche meat processing resources on the NC Choices website. NC Choices is an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in collaboration with N.C. Cooperative Extension. NC Choices promotes sustainable food systems through the advancement of the local, niche, and pasture-based meat supply chain in North Carolina. NC Choices provides information, technical assistance, educational programming, and networking opportunities for farmers, extension agents, meat processors, buyers, distributors, and consumers.

Value-Added Resources

  • Adding Value to Local FoodValue-added is a general term that captures different types of processing of local food. This webpage includes a list of resources for value-added processing in North Carolina.
  • Food Business Portal: NC State’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences Entrepreneur Initiative for Food (EI4F) program ensure individuals and firms transform agriculture commodities into safe, nutritious and value-added food and beverage products. The mission of EI4F is to help small food business owners and prospective entrepreneurs make informed decisions leading to greater economic development and job creation.
  • NC Local Food Infrastructure Inventory: The North Carolina Growing Together project, in collaboration with North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Local Foods Flagship Program, in 2013 created a mapped inventory of businesses that serve as intermediary steps in local food supply chains. This includes value-added processors (e.g. meat and seafood processors, cheese manufacturers, specialty jams and pickling operations), food hubs, fresh produce wholesalers/distributors, multi-farm CSAs, community kitchens, incubator farms, and cold storage locations. The inventory does not include information on end retailers (e.g., restaurants, groceries, etc. selling local foods to consumers). This map is now maintained by the Piedmont Triad Regional Food Council.

Shared-Use Kitchens

Food Safety

  • NC State Extension’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) web portal
    Portal has information about upcoming FSMA trainings (Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food, Produce Safety Rule, etc.) as well as contact information for all 5 of the FSMA ASAs. This site also links directly to the NC Fresh Produce Safety site.
  • Food Safety for Industry/Processors:  The NC Fresh Produce Safety Portal provides information for processors in the sections pertaining to the industry.
  • Acidified Food Manufacturing School: This school provides instruction in food handling techniques; food protection principles; personal hygiene; plant sanitation; pH controls; critical factors in acidification, and more. It is particularly intended for operators or operating supervisors involved in the production of thermally processed acidified foods.