Dahlquist-Willard, Ruth; Espinoza, Maria L. Ramos; Yang, Michael; Engelskirchen, Gwenael; Feenstra, Gail
Moringa is an emerging crop for California with an upward market trend due to its high nutritional value. It is grown on a small scale by Southeast Asian farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley. While current sales have been entirely of fresh moringa, dried moringa products could provide additional income as well as the capacity for off-season sales of stored products. To expand economic opportunities for these farms, we researched best practices for creating value-added, dried moringa products for local, direct markets and wholesale markets. We also interviewed potential buyers to determine what marketing opportunities exist for both fresh and dried moringa in California. Our results indicate that dried moringa products can reach niche markets for local products in California if regulatory and certification requirements are addressed. Initially, our focus was working with individual farmers to expand fresh and processed moringa sales. However, aggregators or food businesses may be better suited to purchase fresh moringa from small-scale farms and complete the necessary certifications for processing it, especially if a locally sourced product could provide higher prices.