The Business of Herbs

Buying Herbs and Herb Products: Herb growing and use are enjoying renewed popularity both with builders of beautiful cuisines and fragrant potpourris, and with seekers after kinder, gentler, cheaper cures for what ails them.

Here's a list of places to buy herbs. Later in this chapter, as I discuss specific herbs, I'll note the firms that sell them. If you don't find their addresses below, look in the introduction to Chapter 2 (for firms that also carry vegetables) or the source list in Chapter 6 (for those that specialize in trees and fruits). Herb Products

Frontier Natural Products Co-op offers a wide selection of natural and organic foods and personal care products, plus bulk and bottled herbs, spices, and baking flavors, etc.: 800-669-3275; 2990 Wilderness Blvd., Ste. 200, Boulder, CO 80301; www.frontiercoop.com. Indiana Botanic Gardens sells by mail-order dried herbs, essential oils, floral scents, potpourri, spices, etc. Free catalog: orders 800-644-8327; info 800-514-1068 or 219-947-4040; fax 219-947-4148; PO Box 5, Hammond, IN 46325; www.botanichealth.com. Lor Ann Oils sells essential oils, flavorings, and specialty ingredients for soap-, candle-, and food-crafters: 4518 Aurelius Rd., Lansing, MI 48910; 800-862-8620; 517882-0215; fax 517-882-0507; [email protected]; www.lorannoils.com. Penzeys Spices offers 250+ spices and spice blends for gourmet cooks including arrowroot, vanilla beans, ajwain seed, annatto seeds, cassia buds, and gumbo filé: 262-785-7676; 800-741-7787; PO Box 924, Brookfield, WI 53008-0924; www.Penzeys.com. Herb Plant Sources: Herbs are sought after by cooks, decorators, and healers. For hard-to-find sources of seeds and growing info, order the 96-pg encyclopedic Ethnobotanical Catalog of Seeds. It's $1 from J. L. Hudson

(see below). In the detailed description of each herb (alphabetical, later in this chapter), I usually name places to buy seeds or starts in addition to this general list. (Also see the list of seed companies in Chapter 2.) Abundant Life Seed Foundation sells herb seeds and books, etc. Catalog, $2: 360-385-5660; PO Box 772, Port Townsend, WA 98368; www.abundantlifeseed. org.

Burnt Ridge Nursery specializes in unusual trees, shrubs, and vines that grow edible nuts or fruit: 360-9852873; 432 Burnt Ridge Rd„ Onalaska, WA 98570; [email protected]t; landru.myhome.net/ burntridge.

Cricket Hill Herb Farm, Ltd.: 978-948-2818; 74 Glen St.,

Rowley, MA 01969. Dabney Herbs sells herbs, native Midwestern plants, books, etc.: 502-893-5198; Box 22061, Louisville, KY 40252; [email protected]; www.dabney herbs.com.

Garden Medicináis and Culinaries offers 170 varieties of herb seeds, roots, tubers, and specialty garlics, herb books, and supplies/equipment for herb growers and herbalists. Many links to herb-related and phyto-therapeutic sites from their website: www.garden medicinals.com. Catalog, $2: 434-964-9113; fax 434973-8717; PO Box 320, Earlysville, VA 22936. Herbal Advantage, Rte. 3, Box 93, Rogersville, MO 65742;

800-753-9929; www.herbaladvantage.com. Horizon Herbs Seed Farm: 541-846-6704; fax 541-8466233; [email protected]; PO Box 69, Williams, OR 97544; www.HorizonHerbs.com. J.L. Hudson, Seedsman, sells medicinal plants and herbs. No phone. Catalog $1: Star Rte. 2, Box 337, La Honda, CA 94020; www.JLHudsonseeds.net. Le Jardin du Gourmet sells herbs and seeds: 802-7481446; PO Box 751, St. Johnsbury Center, VT 058630075; www.ArtisticGardens.com/. Linda's Garden offers a complete herb and herb line. 1436 Campbells Landing Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23457, 757-426-5303; [email protected]; www.cyber9.com/ herbs.

Long Creek Herbs: Call/fax 417-779-5450; Rte. 4, Box

730, Oak Grove, AR 72660. Mulberry Creek's Herb Farm offers a very large selection of certified organic herbs, stevia plants, etc. Free catalog: 419-433-6126; 3312 Bogart Rd., Huron, OH 44839; www.mulberrycreek.com. Nichols Garden Nursery is an herb specialist that's been around longer than this book, selling a wide variety of herb plants and seeds; 1190 N. Pacific Hwy., Albany, OR 97321; www.gardennursery.com/; 541-928-9280; fax 800-231-5306. Redwood City Seed has a great herb collection: 650-3257333; PO Box 361, Redwood City, CA 94064; www. ecoseeds.com.

Richter's is an herb specialist offering 900+ culinary, medicinal, and ornamental varieties including stevia and yucca. Free catalog: 905-640-6677; fax 905-620-6641; 357 Hwy. 47, Goodwood, Ontario, LOC 1A0, CANADA; [email protected]; www.richters.com. Sandy Mush Herb Nursery offers 1,850 varieties of culinary and tea herbs; decorative, scented geraniums; dye plants, etc. Their $5 catalog fully describes all those plants, their growing conditions, and uses; plants for various purposes and places; growing and using herbs; recipes; herb books; and sample plans for kitchen, bee, butterfly, fragrant, and geometric culinary gardens: 828-683-2014; 316 Surrett Cove Rd, Leicester, NC 28748-2014; brwn.org/sandymushherbs. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange uses organic/

sustainable methods and has an extensive online catalog: PO Box 460, Mineral, VA 23117; www.southern exposure.com. selling Herbs: This isn't necessarily easy. But you might do well selling herbs at a farmer's market, either in peat pots, in hanging pots, or cut for culinary use. Develop a personal clientele. Herb growers, by definition, are supposed to be 100% organic, because the Environmental Protection Agency has not authorized any pesticides for use on herbs. And wholesalers won't buy herbal products unless growers can certify they are chemical free. (However, spot checks have found poison residues in some commercial herb products.)

For good information from a pro herb wholesaler for both beginners and other pros, see The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop by Richard Alan Miller or Profitable Herb Growing by N. P. Nichols. Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs (1999), by Sandie Shores, covers crop production methods, including in a greenhouse (www.freshcutherbs.com). Lee Sturdivant's Herbs for Sale focuses on small-scale growers selling herbs. The ATTRA brochure "Herb Overview," including an extensive resource list, is available free (800346-9140; www.attra.org/attra-pub/herb.html). The American Herbal Products Ass'n (AHPA) is at 301-5881171; fax 301-588-1174; 8484 Georgia Ave., Ste. 370, Silver Spring, MD 20910; [email protected]. Their website posts news such as "German health authority has cancelled all registrations for products containing kava," and "New bill limits the use of the name 'ginseng'... to ingredients derived from the genus Panax" at their great website: www.ahpa.org.

If you're interested in the flower market, a valuable article on "Cut Flower Production" is at www.attra.org/ attra-pub/cutflower.html. And read Lynn Byczynski's 1997 book, The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers (Chelsea Green). It has info on varieties to grow, picking a site, harvesting, marketing, and arranging. Join the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers: 440-774-2887; fax 440-774-2435; P.O. Box 268, Oberlin, OH 44074; www.ascfg.org. Also, network with and learn from other herb sellers by joining the Herb Growing and Marketing Network www.herbworld.com. For local networking, just look in your Yellow Pages under "Herbs."

Continue reading here: Harvesting Herbs

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