HerbNet....for everything herbal


Contents of
this page
Links to
Market Prices
(some of these sites are not free)


If you have an herb business,
you need the latest information on trends, marketing, & sources.

Where can you find the news you need?





The Herb Growing & Marketing Network is the largest trade association for the herb industry with around 2000 members, in business since 1990.

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 it’s 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.   We’ll 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….or stop you before you waste any more money.  Think of your $95 dues as the cheapest business advice you’ll ever find saving you more than that in phone calls. J

Second, if you’re a small to medium sized business you’re 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 don’t have to.  You need that occasional boost to keep your creative juices flowing.  Or you need to find products that the competition doesn’t have yet.   We can help with all this and more.  If you’re selling to the trade there are free classified ads in our trade journal.  If you’re selling to the general public those ads are also posted on our web site getting you worldwide exposure.  You’re 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).  You’re 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 you’re a grower) on our Crop Shop….an internet bulletin board that the world can read but only members can list on.   All this….and things like liability insurance, reasonable credit card merchant status, alternative health care coverage, lower phone rates…..for only $95 a year dues.

Third, if you’re 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 today’s 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 you’re a member we’ll refer them to you.  We’re like a broker without the fees J.  And we can help you with your own product searches.

I hope we’ve tempted you to join.  Check out all our member benefits  and I’m sure you’ll agree we can be an asset.  We look forward to hearing from you…..

Membership Benefits
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 you…..
Free Business Listing in the Online Herbal Green Pages, (print also), and on HerbNET
Group Rates on and "Liability" Insurance.
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 business seminars.





Search through our Herbal Green Pages Online

grndot.gif (211 bytes)Cramers’ Posie Patch Ralph Cramer, 116 Trail Rd. N., Elizabethtown, PA 17022; 1-877-CRAMERS;  FAX: 717-367-8666; email:  info@cramersposiepatch.com    URL: http://www.cramersposiepatch.com     Now 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 earned it!!

grndot.gif (211 bytes)Dorothy Biddle Service,    WHOLESALE/retail. Flower arranging equipment, cutting tools; gardening accessories. A family business since 1936.

grndot.gif (211 bytes)Pontano 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: basilking@aol.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


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 seeds—dried, 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 expands.

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, PO Box 10, Newport, NY 13416; email: neha@jeansgreens.com; American Herbalists Guild, ( 1931 Gaddis Rd., Canton, GA 30115; 770-751-6021; FAX: 770-751-7472; email: ahgoffice@earthlink.net  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.

Fresh-cut Herbs

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 seed sources.

Processed Herbs

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.

Varietal Selection

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.

Growing Methods

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 horticulture specialists.

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 the Arboretum's 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; Park's Success with Herbs by Gertrude Foster and Rosemary Louden from Park Seed Company; Growing 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.


  • 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 more. 

  • International Herb Association, P.O. Box 5667,   Jacksonville, FL 32247-5667; FAX: 904-396-9467; email: members@iherb.org URL: http://www.iherb.org Annual membership $100 includes quarterly publication

    Regional 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 Communications
  • 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
  • Transcripts from the Annual Richters Commercial Heb Growing Conference, 1996-1999; Richters, 357 Highway 47, Goodwood, ONT Canada L0C 1A0; http://www.richters.com

  • Proceedings of the First National Herb Growing and Marketing Conference   $15.00
    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.