If you have an
you need the latest information on trends, marketing, & sources.
Where can you find the news
JOIN THE LARGEST &
FASTEST GROWING TRADE GROUP IN THE HERB INDUSTRY:
THE HERB GROWING & MARKETING NETWORK
THE BU$INESS OF HERBS and THE HERBAL GREEN PAGES
WHAT IS THE HERB GROWING & MARKETING
The Herb Growing & Marketing Network is
the largest trade association for the herb industry with around 2000 members, in business
What do we do? We are an information service. We have a library of over 3000 books, subscribe to
over 200 periodicals, monitor 12 internet mailing lists and search the Web looking for
resources and research on the herb industry that we can pass on to our members.
Who can we help? Three distinct groups benefit
from our services:
First, the person thinking about getting into some kind of herb business
whether its growing herbs commercially, running an herb shop, manufacturing herbal
products or starting up a healing practice. Starting
up a business takes a lot of research
. You need to know what laws apply to you, the
potential market, what crops are viable, where you can sell your products. The kinds of questions that often leave you
wondering where to even start your phone calls. We
cut through all that by having that kind of information for you: regulations,
recommendations, even possible contacts for customers.
Well give you a recommended reading list and answer specific questions
or put you in touch with those that can. With 20 years of experience in the herb industry
and over 20 years experience as a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management
Accountant, there's the kind of help that can get you off to a good start
you before you waste any more money. Think of
your $95 dues as the cheapest business advice youll ever find saving you more than
that in phone calls. J
Second, if youre
a small to medium sized business youre often stumped as to how to expand your sales. You need to keep track of the latest trends,
research and legislation to avoid making costly mistakes.
And we subscribe to all those costly publications so you dont have to. You need that occasional boost to keep your
creative juices flowing. Or you need to find
products that the competition doesnt have yet.
We can help with all this and more. If
youre selling to the trade there are free classified ads in our trade journal. If youre selling to the general public those
ads are also posted on our web site getting you worldwide exposure. Youre listed in our Herbal Green Pages, the
acknowledged most complete resource guide for the herb industry with over 400 pages of
herbal businesses (and products of interest to herb businesses). Youre also listed in the online version
(reserved for members only) that gives you more exposure with links to your home page
and/or email address. We also list you on our
other site: herbnet.com. We
can give you names of brokers that may be interested in purchasing your products and you
can list your crops (if youre a grower) on our Crop Shop
.an internet bulletin
board that the world can read but only members can list on.
.and things like liability insurance, reasonable credit card
merchant status, alternative health care coverage, lower phone rates
..for only $95 a
Third, if youre
one of the major players in the industry what we can do for you is give you even more
exposure for a very minimal cost
..$95/yr for continuous advertising is almost
unheard of in todays market
(and no high dues based on revenue). You can use the Crop Shop to search for new
growers, or list your own needs
..be linked to our 3 sites with your own web site and
increase your traffic
.run classified ads
..take advantage of our volume
discounts for alternative health care coverage for your employees and more. Every week we get requests for large quantities of
bulk herbs and if youre a member well refer them to you. Were like a broker without the fees
J. And we can help you with your own product
I hope weve
tempted you to join. Check out all our member
benefits and Im sure youll agree we can be an asset. We look forward to hearing from you
Online trade journal - "The Bu$iness of Herbs."
Annual Resource Guide - 450 page "Herbal Green Pages."
Access to "Information Services"---how to, where to, can
Free Business Listing in the Online Herbal Green Pages, (print also),
and on HerbNET
Group Rates on and "Liability"
Discounts on Long Distance Phone Service and Airborne Express.
Discounts on collection services, credit card Merchant Status.
Free Classified advertising - Online & "In Journal".
Crop Shoppe - list your crops or the crops you're looking for
Major discounts on Web Design and Hosting.
Speaker's Bureau Listing at discounted annual rates.
Conference Registration Discounts for annual winter conference and regional one-day
FOR MORE INFORMATION
TO GET LISTED IN THE HERBAL GREEN PAGES
through our Herbal
Green Pages Online
Posie Patch Ralph Cramer, 116 Trail Rd. N.,
Elizabethtown, PA 17022; 1-877-CRAMERS; FAX:
in our 19th growing season, Cramers' Posie Patch
primary business is growing 50 acres of flowers and
herbs that are sold fresh and dried for the
WHOLESALE trade. We are the first US distributor
for Haygrove Tunnels (1-866-HAYGROVE or
www.haygrove.co.uk), an innovative style, multibay hoop house used for
season extension and crop protection. Haygrove Tunnels
are less than half the cost of single bay tunnels and
are designed to cover large areas. Since day one, we
have sold all of our flowers with a 100% money-back
guarantee. They are guaranteed, period! We grow
plenty of traditional drieds, as well as some you
can't find anywhere else. Exhibiting at gift trade
shows, sending a monthly newsletter/price list, and
having a web site with pictures of our products
distinguishes us from our competitors. We use our
botanicals to create wreath and swag bases that can
easily be finished by designers. Through the summer
months we sell fresh flowers and herbs to wholesale
florists from Boston to Washington DC with our brand
name "Lancaster County Fresh!" Seeds and divisions of
some of our unusual or improved varieties are sold as
the "Cramer Collection" to commercial growers.
Johnny's Selected Seeds and Germania Seed Co. market
our seed varieties through their catalogs. Check out
our drieds at
http://www.cramersposiepatch.com One acre of
production covered by Haygrove Tunnels, can be seen at
our farm. Call for an appointment and make a stop at
Cramers' Posie Patch a part of your visit to
beautiful Lancaster County. Send for free
newsletter/price list. We also sell retail at our
dried flower outlet store here on the farm. We got
our reputation for quality the old fashioned way, we
Dorothy Biddle Service, WHOLESALE/retail. Flower arranging equipment, cutting tools; gardening
accessories. A family business since 1936.
Farms, Inc., Michael Pontano, PO Box 740026, Boynton
Beach, FL 33474-0026. Location 8075 State Rd 7; FAX:
561-738-0802; 561-734-8333; toll-free: 866-PONTANO; email:
email@example.com Grower; 750 acres of fresh herbs
and specialty vegetables including arugula, basil,
cilantro; for WHOLESALE and brokers.
by Maureen A. Rogers, PO
Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575 for USDA's Office for Small-Scale Agriculture (OSA),
Howard W. "Bud" Kerr, Jr, Program Director, AG Box USDA-CSREES, Ag-Box 2244,
Washington, DC 20250-2244
A SMALL-SCALE AGRICULTURE ALTERNATIVE
The term "herbs" has many
meanings. The most accepted one is "plants that are not used solely as vegetables or
ornaments." Herbs are multiple-use plants useful for culinary, cosmetic, industrial,
medicinal, landscaping, decorative, and fragrance purposes.
They include vegetables such as garlic,
flavoring items such as red peppers or mint, decorative flowers such as roses, various
oilseed shrubs, ground-cover plants such as lemon thyme or perennial chamomile, edible
flowers such as nasturtiums, trees such as the linden or bay, and plants such as
chrysanthemums that may be intercropped and used as an alternative to pesticides.
Herbal processed products include fresh and
dried flowers; leaves, barks, roots, and seedsdried, ground, or dissolved powders;
essential oils (as distinguished from petroleum or synthetic oils); and oleoresins,
naturally occurring mixtures of oil and resin. Some other products are condiments, spices,
or food seasonings; teas; dyes; cosmetic products; and so-called health foods.
The competition is intense in producing and
marketing herbs, and producers range from giant corporations to small-scale entrepreneurs
and hobbyists. Regardless, there are opportunities for new herb producers as the market
The world market is extremely volatile,
with prices ranging from less than $1 a pound for some herbs to more than $100 a pound for
others. Political situations in third world countries (where much of the world production
is found) causes shortages, and prices fluctuate widely. Increasing commercial herb
production in the United States will help maintain some equilibrium in suplies and the
stability of sellers' prices.
Consumer and producer interest in herbs is
increasing. A decade ago it was difficult to find books on herbs. Today there are dozens
of books published on all aspects of the subject. Increasing consumer interest has created
more competition in herb production by growers.
National and regional herb trade
associations provide information and support to their members. The Herb Growing and
Marketing Network (PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575; 717-393-3295) publishes The Herbal
Connection, a bimonthly trade journal, and The Herbal Green Pages, an annual resource
guide with more than 5,000 herb-related listings, and holds its annual Herb Business
Winter Getaway Conference; the International Herb Association (c/o
TriCorp Management, Inc., 910 Charles St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401; 540-368-0590; FAX:
540-370-0015) holds an annual conference in
various parts of the United States, and the American Herbal Products Association (PO
Box 30585, Bethesda, MD 20824; 301-951-3207) represents manufacturers of herbal health food and over-the-counter products.
A number of groups serve specific interests
within the industry: medicinal (American Botanical Council, PO Box
144345, Austin, TX 78714; Northeast Herbal Association,
Box 10, Newport, NY 13416; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; American
Herbalists Guild, (
1931 Gaddis Rd., Canton, GA 30115; 770-751-6021; FAX: 770-751-7472; email: email@example.com website: http://www.americanherbalist.com ) and ornamental (Association of Specialty Cut
Flower Growers, MPO 268, Oberlin, OH 44074).
For the small-scale entrepreneur, the best
chance of competing may be in plant sales. With interest in gardening at an all-time high
and no diminishing of interest in sight, gardeners are searching for a wide variety of
herbs for cooking, landscaping, and alternate health needs. A prospective producer might
consider starting a mail order business. Many home gardeners and others market herbs that
way. Herb plant sales are increasing every year, and the enterprising grower who combines
knowledge and service along with plant sales is doing well.
Culinary herbs are well suited to
small-scale production because of unique growing conditions and intensive labor needs.
Production can be on small acreage, marginal land, and without heavy machinery or with
modified equipment. Potential markets are in selling fresh-cut herbs to restaurants, at
local farmers' markets, and through some specialty grocers. Much about pricing and
marketing fresh-cut herbs can be learned from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of
the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
AMS provides reports on prices and supplies
of "miscellaneous herbs," which are fresh-cut and whose leaves are usually used
for flavoring, such as arugula ("rocket salad"), basil, chives, cilantro (also
known as coriander, parsley, and Spanish or Chinese parsley), chervil, dill, marjoram,
mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, tarragon, thyme, lemon thyme, and
watercress. Also listed as an herb is the confusingly named anise, which is a close
relative of fennel, bulbous fennel, Florence fennel, or finocchio. Its bulbous lower
section is generally boiled like a vegetable; its leaves are not used for flavoring, as is
the case with anise hyssop, a kind of mint. (A third anise,s sometimes classed as an
umbelifera because of its relationship to dill, angelica, and celery, is Pimpinellaanisum,
a flavoring seed producer.) Some herbs used for their roots, such as ginger, are listed by
AMS as Oriental vegetables, but the horseradish (root) is sometimes listed as an herb.
Herbs such as garlic, onions, parsley, and hot peppers also are priced but are listed as
plain vegetables. The weekly National Wholesale Herb Market News Report is available from
the Fruit and Vegetable Market News, Attn: Jacqueline Davis, Market Reporter for Herbs,
USDA-AMS, 230 South Dearborn St., Rm 512, Chicago, IL 60604; 312-353-0111. The annual
price for the weekly report is $120, but a monthly update at $10 is also available. The
report covers 18 terminal markets around the country and provides prices and shipment
sizes of 20 or more different culinary herbs. Most of the commercial fresh-cut herbs in
this country currently come from California, Texas, or Florida. Some items come from other
States, and some are imported at very competitive prices.
A lack of knowledge of particular herb
cultivation systems, difficulties with correct seed labeling, and lack of regulations
concerning pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are major production problems.
Seeds are another concern for herb growers.
Although imported seeds and seeds supplied by bulk suppliers are the main sources for the
industry, there is an urgent need for the production of high-quality, reliably identified
Non-food herbs are another potential
market. Outlets include pharmaceutical and industrial uses, the fragrance industry, and
dried herbs/flowers for arrangements and craftwork. Marketing for the
pharmaceutical/industrial segment is specialized, competitive, and can require a
substantial investment. Considerable specialized knowledge of dehydrating, processing, and
extracting, is often required, and specialized machinery may be needed. Keen foreign
competition exists, as import prices are often low Because of the instability of the world
market, however, many companies are looking for reliable US suppliers. Growers must
establish close working relationships with buyers. Information on US trade and the world
situation for many processed products from herbs and spices may be obtained from circulars
sold by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). For information on subscription prices,
contact FAS, Information Division, Room 5074-S, Washington DC 20250-1000; 202-720-7115;
FAX: 202-720-3229. Dr. James A. (Jim) Duke, a former botanist at USDA's Agricultural
Research Service Germplasm Introduction and Evaluation Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705,
suggests study of the Chemical Marketing Reporter (Schnell Publishing Company, 100 Church
St., New York, NY 1007) for the latest continuing data on processed herb prices and
dealers. Copies of the annual Oil, Paint and Drug Chemical Buyers Directory, which lists
dealers, is also for sale from the publisher.
Among many challenges in the herb business
is varietal selection. Some seeds do not produce the crop desired. For example,
"oregano" seeds sold by some companies may not produce plants of culinary use
quality. While many kinds of lavender may be grown from seeds, they will not produce
quality oil. Dr. Duke and Thomas DeBaggio, an herb grower in Arlington, VA, and author of
Growing Herbs, advise that many herbs should be started from cuttings.
There is a limited amount of commercial
growing information in print. The quarterly Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal
Plants emphasizes the latest research in production and quality control. Dr. Lyle E.
Craker, a plant physiologist at the University of Massachusetts, is the editor. Individual
annual subscriptions are $28 per volume ordered from The Haworth Press, Inc., 10 Alice
St., Binghamton, NY 13904-1580. Other sources for information on production, marketing,
and manufacturing are the proceedings from the National Herb Growing and Marketing
Conferences. Copies of the proceedings from 1986-1988 are available from the Extension
Office, Center for New Crops, 1165 Horticulture Building, Purdue University, West
Lafayette, IN 47907. The 1989-1995 proceedings are available from the International Herb
Association. Proceedings are also available from the Herb Growing and Marketing Network's
Annual Herb Business Winter Getaway Conference for $25. Information on Purdue's
International Training Program in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants is also available.
Although many herbs flourish outdoors,
prospective producers should seriously consider a greenhouse for year-round production as
well as early season propagation. Construction costs will vary depending on location and
equipment. Seeking expert advice before construction is essential.
Other Information Sources
Other sources of herbal information include
the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center at USDA's National Agricultural Library
(NAL), Room 304, 10301 Baltimore Blvd., Beltsville, MD 20705-2351 (301-504-6559); the
Cooperative Extension Service office in your county; and your State university
Persons wishing to view more than 100
varieties of living herbs should visit the USDA's National Arboretum at 3501 New York
Avenue NE, Washington DC (202-245-2726). Jim Walker is the Curator of
National Herb Garden. It is one of the largest such formal gardens in the world and has
been sponsored by the Herb Society of America's Potomack Unit since 1965.
There are hundreds of books on herbs, but
most deal with growing herbs on a gardener's level. Selections that include more detailed
material for both the growing and business aspects are: Growing Herbs by Thomas DeBaggio
from Interweave Press; Herbal Renaissance by Steven Foster from Gibbs-Smith;
Success with Herbs by Gertrude Foster and Rosemary Louden from Park Seed Company;
Your Herb Business by Bertha Reppert from Storey Communications;
Medicinal Plants in the Garden, Field and Marketplace, Herbs for Sale and
Profits from your Backyard Herb Garden by Lee Sturdivant from San Juan Naturals (Box 642S,
Friday Harbor, WA 98250). A trade journals that deal with commercial enterprises are The
Bu$iness of Herbs.
ASSOCIATIONS FOR HERB
The Herb Growing
& Marketing Network, PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245; 717-393-3295. Annual membership $95 includes subscription to
bimonthly trade journal The Bu$iness of Herbs, annual resource guide The Herbal Green
Pages; free classified advertising both in trade journal and on the Internet; liability
insurance; alternative health care coverage; lower Airborne Express rates; lower phone
rates; herb study trips domestic and abroad; annual Herb Business Getaway Conference and
International Herb Association,
P.O. Box 5667, Jacksonville, FL 32247-5667; FAX:
Annual membership $100 includes quarterly publication
herb associations are operating in many states. These
hold annual meetings. Current states include West Virginia,
Great Lakes, Texas
- Growing Herbs, Thomas DeBaggio, Interweave Press
- Herbal Renaissaince, Steven Foster, Gibbs M. Smith
- Park's Success with Herbs, Gertrude Foster &
Rosemary Louden, Park Seeds
- Growing Your Herb Business, Bertha Reppert, Storey
- Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace by Lee
Sturdivant and Tim Blakley; Herbs for
Sale and Profits from your Backyard Herb Garden, Lee Sturdivant, San Juan
Naturals (Box 642S, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
- The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop, Richard Alan
Miller, Acres USA, 1985, $12 available from OAK, Inc., 9500 Lower River Rd., Grants Pass,
OR 97527; 503-476-5588
- Growing and Using Herbs Successfully, Betty E.
Jacobs, Garden Way Publishing 1981, $8.95
- "The Bu$iness of Herbs", bimonthly, The Herb
Growing and Marketing Network, PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575,
part of the membership package. Online and limited
print version for those without internet access
- "HerbalGram", quarterly, medicinal focus, American
Botanical Council, PO Box 201660, Austin, TX 78720-1660. $25/yr US. Foreign rates
available. Sample $5
- "Journal of Herbs, Spice & Medicinal Plants",
Haworth Press, 10 Alice St., Binghamton, NY 13904-1580, quarterly, $28/yr.
- Conference proceedings usually cover a wide variety of
topics including commercial production, marketing, uses, trends. They vary between 40-80
presentations. Foreign orders will need additional postage.
- Proceedings from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
and V Annual Herb
Business Getaway Conference, $25 each. Starting an Herb Business Vol I, II, III, IV
(proceedings from Beginners' Day at Annual Herb Business Conference) $5 each.
Available from The Herb Growing & Marketing Network, PO Box 245, Silver spring,
Pa 17575-0245; 717-393-3295; http://www.herbworld.com
from the Annual Richters Commercial Heb Growing Conference, 1996-1999; Richters, 357
Highway 47, Goodwood, ONT Canada L0C 1A0; http://www.richters.com
of the First National Herb Growing and Marketing Conference
Proceedings of the Second National Herb Growing and Marketing Conference $20.00
Proceedings of the Third National Herb Growing and Marketing Conference $20.00
The above are available from Purdue University, Office of Publications, South
Campus Courts-D, West Lafayette, IN 47907. Add
$3 for each book for domestic orders; for foreign orders add $5 surface or $20 airmail per
book. Indiana residents add 5% sales tax.
- Commercial Field Production of Cut and Dried Flowers.
Proceedings from 1989-1999 conferences of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers,
155 Elm Street, Oberlin, OH 44074. Call for prices. 216-774-2887.
This list is not inclusive. There are
hundreds of books and dozens of periodicals currently available. We've chosen those that
give a good coverage of topics of interest to commercial herb growers.