Herb Production in Organic Systems


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Herb Production in Organic Systems

  1. 1. Herb Production ATTRA in Organic Systems A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Katherine L. Adam The emphasis of this publication is on research into organic herb production in the U.S. and implica-NCAT Agriculture tions for herb production under the National Organic Program regulations.Specialist© NCAT 2005ContentsWhy grow organic? ........ 1The beginning organicproducer ............................ 2Harvesting wild herbsgrowing on your land ... 3Organic production ofannual herb crops .......... 3Organic production ofperennial herbs ............... 4Research on organicherb production ............. 4Research on forestbotanicals.......................... 5USDA SustainableAgriculture Research andEducation (SARE)Projects .............................. 7 ©2005 clipart.comSelected Abstracts:Organic Herb Productionin the U.S. ........................ 14 TSelected Abstracts:Organic Herb he term “herb” is very broad—gen- USDA regulations to the basic techniquesMarketing ........................ 15 erally applied to plant species (both and methods used in organic growing.References ...................... 17 annuals and perennials) used for culi-Research Reports:Organic Herb nary, medicinal, fragrance, or certain land- scaping purposes. Methods of production Why grow organic?Production ...................... 18 include forest farming, greenhouse/hoop- The Organic Farming Research Foundation house, field, raised bed, hydroponic, or pot estimates that, as of 2001, “there [were] culture. For more information about herb approximately 7,200 certified organic pro- production and marketing, see the list of ducers in the U.S.”—an increase of 18% related ATTRA publications, page 13. from the previous survey (1)—with 2.07 mil- lion acres under organic cultivation. RetailATTRA - National Sustain-able Agriculture Information Federal regulations now control the labeling sales of organic foods have grown from 20Service is managed by the and marketing of organic products. Certi- to 35% worldwide for the past 10 years.(2)National Center for Appropri-ate Technology (NCAT) and is fication by a USDA-accredited certifier is Based on a 2002 informal poll of certifiersfunded under a grant from the required in order for producers and proces- (3), about 1000 U.S. firms, including on-United States Department ofAgriculture’s Rural Business- sors to display the USDA seal. ATTRA’s farm processors, manufacture organic prod-Cooperative Service. Visit theNCAT Web site (www.ncat.org/ Organic Farm Certification and the National ucts (mostly foods). As of 2004 the Agri-agri.html) for more Organic Program provides an overview of cultural Marketing Service of USDA reportsinformation on oursustainable agricul- organic certification. NCAT’s Organic Crops that 30% of culinary herbs sold in the U.S.ture projects. ���� Workbook provides guidance for applying are produced organically. NewFarm.com now
  2. 2. improve farm income, no type of herb has Farm Profile: Developing Marketing Strategies for Culinary proved to be a satisfactory alternative for U.S. and Medicinal Herbs corn, soy, or wheat producers. The typical Objectives: The Indian Springs Farmers Association (ISFA) assists small U.S. herb farm is a small rural business that farmers in diversifying their farm operations via alternative crops. In part- adds value in some way to a mix of mostly nership with Alcorn State University, the Federation of Southern Coopera- perennial herb crops and uses alternative tives, and other nonprofit partners, the Mississippi Association of Coop- marketing methods. eratives and the Foundation for the Mid-South participated in training African-American small farmers from ISFA in the production and test mar- The Dietary Supplement Health and Educa- keting of fresh and dried medicinal and culinary herbs. tion Act (DSHEA) of 1994 codified manu- Outcomes: Six farmers participated in the trials and grew 32 acres of herbs, facturing of products based on “medicinal in addition to constructing 5 raised beds of 100 sq. ft. each. They found herbs.” The conventional flavoring and fra- that picking directly into half-bushel plastic containers with holes in them grance industry, which depends, in part, on was more efficient than the conventional 5-gallon buckets—allowing them herbs, has its own standards. Sales of encap- to save time and labor by washing the herbs in the picking containers. sulated herbs rose steeply from 1994 to about An 8-ounce clamshell was the customer-preferred retail container. ISFA 1998—then plateaued. Some products saw a developed markets at the Crescent City Farmers’ Market in New Orleans, steep decline in sales. No separate informa- Louisiana, and Alliant Food Services, Inc. (Selling fresh herbs by mail order was dropped because of quality considerations.) tion is available on sales of products made from organic herbs. The organic labeling sta- “They found a ready market for medicinal and culinary herbs. They tus of dietary supplements has recently been also found, perhaps due to the nature of the product, that many cus- clarified (see box). Materials come from five tomers asked for 100 percent certified organic products.” or six large botanicals dealers, networks of Summary and quotation from USDA/SARE Farmer-Rancher Grant FS00-118, contract growers, or vertical integrators. Final Report, 2002. www.sare.org Two rulings by the National Organic Program provides weekly reports on sales of organic in 2005 potentially affect herbal products. herbs at the 18 U.S. wholesale produce ter- NOP has posted a memo to certifiers saying minals, and it is recruiting a network to pro- that any product meeting the Final Rule may vide regular reports on the 50% of organic be certified, and if it meets the requirements herb sales thought to occur through direct for “100% organic” or “organic,” it may use the marketing channels. (Reports on selected USDA Organic seal. (www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ NOPPolicyMemo08_25_05.pdf) This memo organic herb sales appear monthly in Grow- reverses an initial decision to disallow organic ing for Market.) certification for some categories of products derived from certified organic agricultural prod- The beginning organic ucts, including personal care items. producer Another ruling makes it more difficult to use non- organic agricultural ingredients (such as small Many herb producers in the U.S. start as amounts of essential oils used for flavoring or hobby growers interested in the culinary, fragrance) in otherwise organic products, even aromatic, medicinal, or ornamental quali- when organic counterparts are not available. ties of herbs. Only a few acres are needed to (See www.ota.com/pp/usregulatory/index.html.) begin selling on a small scale, as opportuni- ties present themselves, although a few large corporate herb farms do exist. Fresh-cut It usually takes several years for a beginner culinary herbs, plugs, and potted herb plants to learn what works in growing and mar- keting a particular herb crop. This can are produced in greenhouses. A relatively involve extensive travel to attend conferences small number of farmers have been able to and visit other operations, as well as gath- secure production contracts for herbs. To ering information from the Internet, read- ing, and talking with other growers. Much For information on alternatives to raising grains and other commodities, of the necessary knowledge and expertise see the ATTRA publication Moving Beyond Conventional Cash Cropping. must come through experience and throughPage 2 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  3. 3. face-to-face communication. The pioneersof herb farming in the U.S. 15 years agokept many details of their operations secret.Some well-known herb farms and businesseshave recently become part of internationalcorporations.Harvesting wild herbsgrowing on your landGinseng, goldenseal, blue cohosh, blackcohosh, bloodroot, willow bark, and othernative plants grow in undisturbed woodlandsin the Appalachians and Ozarks. Ephedra,echinacea, and cascara sagrada are amonghundreds of plants found in the arid West.To certify land or a portion of land intendedfor wild harvest, the NOP rule is relatively American ginseng (Panay quinquefolius) growing in the Ozark Mountains.uncomplicated, and wild-harvested plant Photo by Katherine Adamparts or seeds may be sold as organic undercertain conditions. Using a fungicide to “save Plants found growing wild in disturbedthe crop” is prohibited if it is to be labeled ground (old fields) rarely have much eco-organic. In practice, if your entire farm has nomic value, although a few entrepreneurscompleted the three-year transition process have developed markets for them. Purslane,and is certified organic by a USDA-accred- dandelion, stinging nettle, chickweed, sheepited certifier, all wild plants, trees, and weeds sorrel, mallows, and red-root pigweed (ama-on it are also considered organic and may ranth) have been identified by Dr. Peter A.be marketed as such. Be aware that many Gail of the Goosefoot Acres Center for Wildstates require that ginseng be harvested only Vegetable Research and Education (4) as thein the fall, after fruiting, and that the berries most salable. If the field has been certifiedbe replanted immediately. organic under the Organic Rule provisions of §205.207, the weeds growing on it mayA list of resources for identifying unfamiliar be marketed as organic “salads” or “wildwild plants is provided below. Undisturbed greens.” Seed may also be collected for salenative woodlands, prairies, or deserts are the as organic seed.most likely places to find them. The Con-servation Security Act may provide landown-ers in certain selected watersheds financial Organic production ofincentives for preserving native woods and annual herb cropswetlands and other undisturbed habitats, as Annual herbs can be raised organically inwell as for using organic methods of produc- the field much the same as annual vegetables.tion. Provisions are administered by local However, today most commercial produc-conservation committees that require good tion of annual culinary herbs such as basil,record keeping for a minimum of two years cilantro, parsley, and lemon balm occurs inbefore applying for grants. hydroponic greenhouse systems. At this time organic hydroponics is neither well definedMore information on possible income from nor certified by most certifiers. Most fieldwoodland alternatives, other than timbering, transplants come from plugs, although somemay be found in ATTRA’s Agroforestry Over- herbs are direct-seeded. For an introduc-view and in U.S. Forest Service publications tion to greenhouse culture, see the ATTRAon special forest products. publications Herbs: Organic Greenhousewww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3
  4. 4. Production and Vegeta- Lavender Production, Products, Marketing, bles: Organic Greenhouse and Entertainment Farming. §205.207 Wild-crop harvesting Production. Related practice standard publications are Pot- a) A wild crop that is intended to be ting Mixes for Certified Organic production of sold, labeled, or represented as organic must be harvested from Organic Production, perennial herbs a designated area that has had Plug and Transplant Most common herbs are perennials, as were no prohibited substance, as set Production in Organic all the herbs in the Soberg study (see Renne forth in §205.105, applied to it for Systems, and Integrated Soberg’s Management Tips for Organic a period of 3 years immediately Pest Management for Herb Production, below). Because seeds preceding the harvest of the wild Greenhouse Crops. crop. do not come true to type, many perennial Seed spices—such as herbs must be reproduced by vegetative b) A wild crop must be harvested in a manner that ensures that such dillseed, coriander, and methods; commercial growers buy them as harvesting or gathering will not mustard—are direct- plugs. In some very large herb industries be destructive to the environment seeded annuals raised (such as the former U.S. mint oil industry), and will sustain the growth and as field or garden crops. a perennial was replanted each year and production of the wild crop. Calendula, used in cos- treated as an annual, to minimize disease metics, is also a direct- problems. Since few sources of organic herb seeded annual, and plugs exist at the present time, organic grow- caraway is biennial. Lack of specialized ers usually purchase conventionally raised harvesting equipment and processing facil- plugs for perennial herb plants and then raise ities has minimized production of the seed them for a year under certified organic man- spices in the U.S., and overseas competition agement. For more information on plug and has caused a decline in the U.S. essential oils transplant production, see the ATTRA publi- industry—with the exception of an emerging cation Certified Organic Plug and Transplant lavender sector. With federal funding, Pur- Production. ple Haze Lavender Farm, Sequim, Washing- ton, and La Paix Herb Farm, Alum Bridge, For more information on current issues con- West Virginia, have pioneered research into cerning organic propagation material (seeds commercial small-scale lavender farming in and starts), see the 2005 ATTRA publica- the U.S. Floragenics of Pescadero, Califor- tion Seed Production and Variety Selection for nia, now sells mid-scale distillation equip- Organic Systems. ment. Lavender oil is used principally in aro- matherapy and as a fragrance for household Research on organic herb products. Two multi-state lavender growers conferences are being held in 2005. For production more information on lavender production Several on-farm research projects involv- and marketing, see the ATTRA publication ing herb production and marketing have been funded by USDA Sustainable Agri- culture Research and Education (SARE)§205.204 Seeds and planting stock practice standard grants (see www.sare.org). A research proj- 4) Nonorganically produced planting stock to be used to pro- ect conducted at New Mexico State Univer- duce a perennial crop may be sold, labeled, or represented sity from 1994 to 1998 incidentally involved as organically produced only after the planting stock has organic production methods. Perhaps the been maintained under a system of organic management most complete organic herb trials, carried for a period of no less than 1 year; and all the way through to formation of a produc- 5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock treated with pro- ers’ co-op and successful marketing, have hibited substances may be used to produce an organic crop been carried out by Renne Soberg of Soberg when the application of the materials is a requirement of Farms in Minnesota, whose research on pro- Federal or State phytosanitary regulations. ducing and marketing native medicinals was funded in successive stages by SARE (FNC97-178, “Native Minnesota MedicinalPage 4 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  5. 5. Production Feasibility Study”) and by Min- The unique nature of niche markets for anynesota Department of Agriculture alternative such products must be thoroughly understoodcrops grants. Reports published in MDA’s before such ventures are undertaken.(6) TheMinnesota Greenbook series for 1998 and University of Minnesota cautions:2000 provide details of Soberg’s success • Most specialty forestry product (SFP)in enterprises are risky—either because • selecting and establishing suitable products are perishable or the mar- varieties, kets are small and easily saturated. • adapting equipment and facilities to • Prices can be volatile, and govern- accommodate herb production, ment programs may be limited. • successfully demonstrating com- • The market for products such as mercial production of selected herbs cedar oil is dominated by a few large under Minnesota conditions, and processors. • identifying a bulk market. (See • Some processors or wholesalers may Renne Soberg’s Management purchase products from only a few Tips for Organic Herb Produc- preferred producers. This allows tion.) them to avoid the high costs of deal- ing with a large number of grow-In 2001 Soberg organized an herb produc- ers who bring small quantities ofers’ cooperative and secured a contract with varying quality to their processinga national buyer. facilities.Herb display plots are maintained at the Uni- • Newcomers to SFPs may have prob-versity of Saskatchewan and Purdue Univer- lems finding production or marketsity, while the University of Kentucky protects information. Existing producers maywild stands of black cohosh, ginseng, and be fearful of losing their alreadygoldenseal for research purposes. Univer- small markets and unwilling to sharesity of Kentucky Extension has conducted information.“workshops to teach growers how to pro- For more information on risk assessmentduce ginseng and goldenseal under semi- and management, see the National Ag Risknatural and organic conditions.”(5) Since Library Web site (University of Minnesota),most universities doing organic research opt www.agrisk.umn.edu. Also see the ATTRAfor a waiver of certification, any economic publication Templates for Agricultural Riskdata generated does not accurately reflect Management (also available on CD).farmers’ costs incurred for certification andrecord keeping. The University of Kentucky’s New Crop Opportunities Center, headed by R. TerryResearch on forest Jones (7), Department of Horticulture, is cur- rently assessing the potential of a number ofbotanicals Kentucky wildflowers for commercial floralWild native botanicals, sometimes grown crop production.(5) Black cohosh is includedwild-simulated in farm woods, have attracted in a study of “native plant and underuti-recent attention as part of the category “spe- lized landscape plant species” at one of itscialty forestry products,” which also includes research stations. Jones has published aforest-based food products, woody decorative useful guide (5) to seed and root sources forflorals, and handicrafts or specialty woods. black cohosh (as well as blue cohosh, gin-According to the NOP wild-harvested prac- seng, and goldenseal) for Kentucky growers,tice standard, wild-simulated botanicals as well as other Web resources. See also thewould meet organic standards if the whole list of suppliers in ATTRA’s Ginseng, Gold- Goldensealfarm were certified. enseal, and Other Native Roots. ©2005 clipart.comwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 5
  6. 6. A major horticultural study on black cohosh related SARE-funded projects in Ohio. (See was initiated in 2001, under the auspices of ENC01-56 and LNC00-174, below.) the Center for Phytonutrient and Phytochemi- A New Mexico State University study sup- cal Studies (a research consortium between ported by a grant from the USDA/AMS fed- the University of Missouri—Columbia and eral-state marketing improvement grant pro- the Missouri Botanical Garden), funded by gram yielded production and economic data a sizeable grant from the U.S. National Insti- for echinacea, valerian, and yerba mansa. tutes of Health. Research sites in Missouri The study was conducted in 1995–96, with include the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. results published in 1999.(11) In line with Louis; Southwest Research Center, Mt. Ver- university research practice vis-à-vis organic non; and the Shaw Nature Center, Gray Sum- production (and generally typical of medici- mit. A shade house has been erected at nal herb crops), Constance Falk, chief inves- each site for purposes of the study. The ini- tigator, notes that tial experiment is intended to answer ques- tions about when and under what conditions Although these crops were not planted on land (including stress) the herb produces certain certified as organic, no synthetic fertilizers or phytochemicals (the “active principles”) and pesticides were used.(11) in what quantity. For current information, The same research team studied catnip, net- see the Web site www.phyto-research.org/ tle, calendula, lemon balm, and globemal- identification or contact the Center.(8) low. From 1994 to 1998 they focused on In 2001 Frontier Natural Brands (formerly transplanting vs. direct seeding. The pub- Frontier Herbs) turned over management of lished report noted that “cultural practices the National Center for the Preservation of followed guidelines for organic farming meth- Medicinal Herbs in Rutland, Ohio, to the ods by the New Mexico Organic Commodity nonprofit local community organization Commission.”(12) Rural Action (See Resources/Organiza- No certification costs were incurred, and no tions). This center forms a green corridor organic premium was charged buyers of the with the adjacent 378-acre Botanical Sanctu- research crop—a Santa Fe tincture manufac- ary managed by United Plant Savers (UpS) turer, local herbalists, and larger distribu- (See Resources/Organizations). Until tors in California and Oregon. recently, both organizations had been con- ducting on-site research into medicinal and In July 2002 the Organic Agricultural threatened native plant species on research Consortium (OAC) and the Scientific Con- plots under organic management. A change gress on Organic Agricultural Research in corporate direction (9) caused Frontier to (SCOAR) launched a new peer-reviewed discontinue its research projects, and a sub- Web site for collecting research and informa- sequent fire in the UpS facilities destroyed tion on organic crops. The Web site invites results of years of research. UpS has con- researchers and farmers to contribute “prac- ducted a fund drive among its membership tical and scientific information on organic” to rebuild its facilities. According to Lauren Piscopo, the Center is the “only U.S. organization researching the organic propagation of native herbs.” Some of the “over-harvested” plants included in the preserve are goldenseal, slippery elm, partridgeberry, bloodroot, goldthread, yerba mansa, and arnica. Native botanicals at both these sites are being raised organi- cally (10), and before the mishaps, organic propagation and production were part of the ©2005 clipart.com research design. There have been severalPage 6 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  7. 7. agriculture. Organic production prac- learning curve is very steep for severaltices for vegetable crops, including green- years. Much of the business is basedhouse and raised bed production, are gen- on relationships, and it may take yearserally applicable to most annual herbs. to develop the knowledge, experience,www.organicaginfo.org equipment, and growing ranges neces- sary to be competent enough to competeBelow are summaries of results from Sus- in the market on a professional basistainable Agriculture Research and Educationprojects related to forest farming of medicinal Research Report: Minnesota Greenbook 2000native plants and organic production of alltypes of herbs. Also see the related ATTRA USDA Sustainablepublications Ginseng, Goldenseal, and OtherNative Roots and Agroforestry Overview. Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)Renne Soberg’s Management Tips for ProjectsOrganic Herb Production Since 1991 USDA/SARE has awarded more1. To get started, pick out some herbs and than $1,800,000 in grants for sustainable try growing them. Read as much as agriculture projects involving herbs. Almost you can. all could be classified as on-farm research, with some university and nonprofit part-2. Plan three years ahead. You need to ners. A search of the SARE project database condition the ground with [plowed-down turned up information on a great many herb- succession crops of] buckwheat/buck- related projects—a substantial proportion wheat/rye plantings the year prior to since 2000 have been on certified organic planting herbs. The second year is farms or used substantially organic methods. focused on establishment of the planting In a majority of cases, organic production and the third year on your first substan- was incidental to the research design. Two tial harvest. Don’t plan on any income studies took place on Biodynamic farms. See from herbs the establishment year. the complete, searchable project database at www.sare.org/projects.3. Herbs have very strong characters and demand different conditions—soil, mois- ture, drying, and labor among others. Projects involving chemical- Selection of herb species should be done free forest farming of native with knowledge of the preferred growth medicinals conditions of the herbs in combination with an understanding of the conditions Organic you can provide. Some accommoda- tions will probably have to be made by FNE02-436 (2002) both the herbs and by the grower, if you pH and Calcium Requirement in Woods- are to be successful. Grown Organic Goldenseal Hydrastic4. The business of growing herbs requires Canadensis L many skills and a keen sense of observa- In progress. No final report. tion and intuition. There is a quantum leap between growing herbs for pleasure and growing herbs for profit. To quote Non-organic a former governor of North Dakota, FNC04-527 (2004) “Think big, start small, stay liquid.” Interplanting Ginseng with Other5. It may be best to stay out of herbs if you Native Shade Plants for Fungal are only looking at the profit motive. Control, Short and Long-Term It is best if it is a labor of love. The Profitabilitywww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 7
  8. 8. Farmer/Rancher project No report. Objective is to create a managed forest sys- tem that allows sustainable production of FNC99-288 (1999) high-value native plants—such as ginseng, Growing Various Species of Angelica as goldenseal, bloodroot, cohosh, and trillium— a Forest Crop in the Midwest by avoiding diseases typical of monocultures through the technique of interplanting. Farmer/Rancher project In progress. No final report. Growing five species of angelica in a woodlot as an alternative forest cash crop for medici- nal use, the producer planted 260 to 300 LNC00-174 (2000) angelica seedlings in cages to deter deer Sustaining Farms and Biodiversity grazing. Some outgrew their cages. Other Through Woodland Cultivation of High- objectives were to provide “high quality, sus- Value Crops tainably produced medicinal herbs” and to Research and Education project compare European/North American and Chi- nese angelicas for quality and ease of pro- With significant federal and non-federal duction. No production, harvesting, or mar- matching funds (total: $94,559), this proj- keting data were gathered during the life of ect explored cultivation of at-risk medicinal the grant. However, the farmer promised to plants in the Ohio Appalachians. An asso- collect and eventually publish such data. ciation was formed of more than 40 growers with an integrated support system—including FNE98-220 (1998) education, R&D, and marketing assistance. Growers participating in educational activi- Forest Grown Medicinal Plants to ties totaled 470. The report noted: “Signifi- Increase Woodlot Income cant initial plantings were made by growers Farmer/Rancher project and broader awareness of woodland cultiva- tion was developed in the region.” This project was about establishing St. Johnswort, ginseng, and goldenseal in a See 20-page Final Report. farm woodlot. St. Johnswort was planted in a clearing and fertilized with commer- ENC01-056 (2001) cial sources of N and P. Non-chemical weed Forest Meets Farm: Profitable New Crops control consisted of a cover crop of Japanese for Small Farms in Forested Ohio millet turned under, which proved effective. The investigator now recommends no appli- Professional Development Program cation of fertilizer, as the weeds are likely to This project was about establishing a training derive more benefit than the St. Johnswort. program for forest-cultivated crops (such as Direct seeding, as opposed to transplants, native medicinals and perennial native herbs is recommended. in the nursery trade) and other non-timber Ginseng seeds and roots, as well as gold- products (e.g., pawpaw and mushrooms) for enseal roots, were planted in an appropri- forested regions of Ohio. ately shaded, well-drained site fertilized with See 11-page Final Report. dolomitic lime, gypsum, and commercial P fertilizer. Ginseng sustained considerable FNE99-286 (1999) waterlogging at one of the sites, as well as Integrated Forest Farming: Medicinal damage from small animals digging up the Herb Cultivation, Mushroom Produc- roots. Goldenseal took well and had no prob- tion, and Forest Restoration lems. The investigator recommends care- ful assessment of drainage at potential sites Farmer/Rancher project and protection of the roots with wire mesh.Page 8 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  9. 9. Goldenseal proved more tolerant of light than Recommendations for actual commercial pro-did ginseng. duction: secure road access; use a small tractor to prepare seedbeds.FNE95-102 (1995)Development of Woodlands Growing Projects involving fieldMethod for New England Native Wild- productionflowers and Medicinal PlantsFarmer/Rancher project OrganicThe objective of this project was cultivation FNE01-362 (2001)of native Massachusetts wildflowers (most Organic Row Cropping of Threatenedhaving medicinal uses)—including golden-seal, ginseng, blue cohosh, bloodroot, gold- Medicinal Herbs for Market in thethread, jack-in-the-pulpit, foamflower, par- Northeasttridgeberry, wild ginger, maidenhair fern,red trillium, May apple, bluebeard lily, Farmer/Rancher projectHepatica, and Tiarella cordifolia—in a two- The applicant identified nine species ofacre forest setting, prepared by thinning to medicinal plants considered threatened increate a number of micro-environments at their native environment and proposed toground level (including both well-drainedand boggy sites). grow them organically, recording plant vigor, yields, pest damage, and other indicators.Watering was necessary the first summer, The market for these medicinal would beand some weeding was necessary during the explored.second. After three years, all of the origi-nal planting of ginseng was lost for unknown No final report.reasons. [Steven Foster—herb author,photographer, and lecturer—commented dur- FNE03-489 (2003)ing a native herb woods walk in 2001 thatmature ginseng roots can apparently lie dor- Organic High Density Production ofmant for years at a time, then suddenly send Medicinal Herbsup above-ground parts for reasons that are Farmer/Rancherpoorly understood.] The chief investigatorreplanted the ginseng. Success of the other The proposal states: “High-density herb pro-species was judged as follows. duction may meet a market need and improve profits, and the farmer will collect and evalu- Successful ate data on high-density costs such as tech- jack-in-the-pulpit blue cohosh nology, space requirements, and labor, as goldenseal goldthread, well as track weed, insect, and wildlife dam- bloodroot Tiarella cordifolia age. The goal is to see if high-density herb foamflower Hepatica production is more profitable than conven- tional methods. Projects results will be pre- sented at conferences and will be offered for Unsuccessful publication in herb industry newsletters.” partridgeberry wild ginger No final report.Principal investigator does not believethat growing wild plants in this way, and FNE02-440 (2002)on this scale, can be economically justi- West Virginia Herb Growers Researchfied. This is a suitable technique only if the Projectobjective is conservation of native species. Farmer/Rancher projectwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 9
  10. 10. Wholesale markets for organically grown LNE97-092 (1997) domestic herbs suitable for West Virginia will Chinese Medicinal Herbs as Crops for be investigated. Seven farmers will propa- the Northeast gate and cultivate, experimenting with biocul- tural practices to control fungal pests. They This project evaluated the potential pro- will publish results and develop a growers’ ductivity and grower acceptance of Chi- manual. nese medicinal plants as alternative crops. Organic production methods were used. No final report. Plant development proved highly variable. FNC99-252 (1999) Harvestable and marketable fractions var- ied within plots. Organic Medicinal Herb Cultivation Recommendations: 1. Selection and produc- Farmer/Rancher project tion of genetically uniform plant propagation With the objective of sustainably and prof- materials must precede introduction of Chi- itably producing organic medicinal herbs, nese herbs as a reliable alternative crop for the producer planted the three commercial the Northeast. 2. A community-based direct varieties of Echinacea. Results: Only 200 market system to practitioners must also be of more than 3,000 plants survived due to developed to ensure commercial viability. damage from the Aster Yellows virus, trans- mitted by leafhoppers. FNC97-178 (1997) Native Minnesota Medicinal Production FNC98-215 (1998) Feasibility Study Elixir Farm: Chinese Medicinal Herbs Farmer/Rancher as Field Crops in the Ozarks Objective: To determine which medicinal Farmer/Rancher project plants were commercially feasible to grow Objective: To increase organic production in Minnesota. Plants in the trial were and marketing of the Chinese medicinal dandelion, wormwood, motherwort, penny- Astragalus membranaceous as a rural devel- royal, scullcap, valerian, catnip, and licorice. opment strategy. [Elixir Farm is Biody- Old grain-handling equipment was converted namic.] Investigators harvested 2 pounds of to handle these crops. seed from 2/3 acre (1 lb. per year) and 18 [Note: This research, conducted by Renne pounds of dried root (in the second year). Soberg, was continued through 1999 with Production costs were deemed “high,” and state of Minnesota grants. See Minnesota aggressive marketing was needed to sell the Greenbook 1998 and 2000 reports. See crop for a satisfactory return. Resources, below.] FW97-003 (1997) FW01-052 (2001) Converting Pasture Land to Specialty Application of Oyster Shell Mulch for Crop Production as an Alternative Farm Lavender Production Enterprise Farmer/Rancher Objective: Project proposed to increase fam- Final report: Plants mulched with oys- ily incomes to make better use of pasture ter shells showed about a 12% increase in land by demonstrating to skeptical farmers harvested bundles with no significant differ- the economic viability of producing organic ence in oil quality/quantity (per mass spec- dried herbs and flower seeds on land previ- tra analysis). Oyster-shell mulched plants ously used only for grazing livestock. kept weeding, cultivating, and water use to No outcomes reported. a minimum. Project extended beyond lifePage 10 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  11. 11. of the grant to test hypothesis that increas- “the most vigorous growth of E. purpurea,ing mulch area around the plant increases and the greatest number of flower heads”[reflected] light units, hence flower produc- when it was interplanted with grasses. E.tion, in ‘Royal Velvet’ (L. angustifolia) and angustifolia was not as successfully propa-‘Hidcote Giant’ (L. x intermedia). gated, but neither species was found to suffer from diseases or insects, and various coverFNE01-358 (2001) crops provided fertilization.Essential Oil Distillation for West Vir-ginia Herb Growers: A Smell Good Projects involving fieldProject production of culinary herbsFarmer/Rancher FS00-118 (2000) [See AlternativeThis project aimed to explore markets for marketing below]distilled herb products, including hydrosols,and to connect herb growers. Developing Marketing Strategies forAccording to the final report, with assis- Culinary and Medicinal Herbstance from the West Virginia Department Farmer/Rancher projectof Agriculture and West Virginia University The Indian Springs Farmers AssociationCooperative Extension, the project created (ISFA) assists small farmers in diversifyingan 11-member herb growers network, con- their farm operations via alternative crops.ducted educational events for growers, and In partnership with Alcorn State University,investigated distillation and the potential of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives,value-added products. A 32-page publica- and other nonprofit partners, the Mississippition on propagation and uses of lavender and Association of Cooperatives and the Founda-lemon balm was distributed to all partici- tion for the Mid-South participated in train-pating growers, and a two-day Propagation ing African-American small farmers in theand Distillation Workshop was held, using production and test marketing of fresh andthe small-scale distillation unit set up at La dried medicinal and culinary herbs.Paix Herb Farm. Twelve different herbs weretested for feasibility, with the outcome that Six farmers participated in the trials andalthough a high oil yield was not obtained grew 32 acres of herbs, in addition tofrom the small unit, alternative products from constructing 5 raised beds of 100 sq. ft.the hydrosols produced have potential. each. They found that picking directly intoMore research needs to be done to deter- half-bushel plastic containers with holes inmine how to achieve higher essential oil them was more efficient than the conventionalyields, and more education is needed on all 5-gallon buckets—allowing them to save timeaspects of herb production in West Virginia. and labor by washing the herbs in the pickingLarger volumes of plant material are needed containers. An 8-ounce clamshell was the(especially lavender and peppermint). More customer-preferred retail container. ISFAresearch is needed on ideas for value-added developed markets at the Crescent City Farm-products, especially from spent biomass. ers Market in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Alliant Food Services, Inc. Selling fresh herbs by mail order was dropped because ofNon-organic quality considerations. “They found a readyFNE97-160 (1997) market for medicinal and culinary herbs. They also found, perhaps due to the natureEchinacea Field Trials of the product, that many customers asked forInvestigators grew E. purpurea and E. angus- 100 percent certified organic products.”tifolia under organic management, testingvarious parameters. Chief investigator found LS96-075 (1996)www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 11
  12. 12. Developing Sustainable Crop Manage- • Use of 30-inch rows to promote opti- ment Systems for Improving Produc- mum yield, while reducing disease tion of Culinary Herbs in the Virgin problems. Islands • Tilling immediately before planting Research and Education project for weed control. Objectives: LS94-013 (1994) • To develop sustainable soil manage- Plant Shelters to Extend the Growing ment practices for culinary herb pro- Season for Herbs duction by using crop rotation with green manures, application of com- Objectives were to extend the growing sea- posts, animal manures, and other son for sweet basil in the mountains of west- organic fertilizers. ern North Carolina (36° N Lat.) from four months to possibly eight months, to capitalize • To evaluate use of organic mulches, on early- and late-season fresh market price cover crops, and biodegradable syn- premiums. The project aimed to design por- thetic mulches. table, lightweight, inexpensive, easily main- • To develop IPM for herbs (intercrop- tained/stored, energy-efficient, and reusable ping and crop rotation). shelters with a drip irrigation component. • To increase efficiency in fertilizer No construction materials or designs per- and water use in herb production by formed adequately for commercial produc- using micro-irrgation. tion of herbs. Basil production proved ill- Herbs evaluated were sweet basil, chives, suited to 4-foot high shelters, as basil has cilantro, parsley, and thyme, over four crop- a higher growing pattern than most herbs. ping seasons. Lightweight portable shelters tended to blow No outcomes available. over in high winds, damaging the plants. During the project “market prices dropped due to unexpected availability of inexpen- LNC94-066 (1994) sive herbs from Mexico, Israel, and Aus- Investigation of the Viability of Grow- tralia,” dropping expected returns below ing Herbs as Alternative Crops for Iowa cost of production. Hence the crop was left Farmers unharvested. The principal investigator now Objectives were 1) to examine seven herb considers it unlikely that he will remain in crops for profitability, 2) to determine the culinary herb business. optimal cultural practices, 3) to evaluate time and labor requirements, as well as Projects involving equipment needs/modifications, and 4) to greenhouse production investigate retail and wholesale marketing opportunities. of culinary herbs Only the culinary herbs basil, cilantro, dill, Organic and parsley were found reliably profitable— given timely planting and water availability. FNE03-468 Disease and insect problems were minimal Organic Plug Production: Evaluating for these four herb crops. Cultural practices Growing Media, Fertilizer and Eco- found most beneficial: nomic Feasibility • Use of organic mulches (corn stalks Farmer/Rancher project or cobs) to reduce weed pressure between rows and conserve moisture, The goals of this project were to evaluate reduce erosion, and maintain clean economic feasibility of operating an organic herbs at harvest. plug production facility [in a 3000 sq. footPage 12 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  13. 13. greenhouse operation in the Northeast] and Role of herbs in habitatto compare three media types and two fer- enhancement for beneficialtilizers. insectsOutcomes: Economic feasibility was con-firmed: growing plugs actually produced AS92-002 (1992)more income per square foot of produc- Habitat Enhancement for Beneficialtion space than growing traditional bedding Insects in Vegetable and Fruit Farm-plants. The organic germinating mix used ing Systemsperformed better than did either the organic Using essentially organic methods, the par-compost or a peat-based medium. A fertil- ticipating farmers noted basil, cilantro, dillizer made from liquefied fish protein (2-4-2) (and all flowering plants in the umbel family),performed better than a fertilizer made from also anise hyssop, garlic chives, and mintsliquid fish and seaweed (3-2-2). [Note: The were highly attractive to beneficial insects.investigator has subsequently gone into busi- They rated strip or border plantings supe-ness as one of very few organic plug suppli- rior to companion planting. Participatingers in the U.S.] farmers state that they have changed their farming practices as a result of the projectAlternative Marketing and continue to share what they learned with others.FNE00-348 (2000)Harvest Home Organics EducationThe project objective was to establish a CSA EW97-005 (1997)for marketing organic vegetables, flowers, In-depth Training and Work Experienceand herbs. on a Community Supported AgricultureShareholders did not find the social and aes- (CSA) Farmthetic meaning in the CSA system that the A four-day train-the-trainers workshop wasinvestigator did, but viewed it primarily as a held at Peach Valley CSA Farm in Califor-source of fresh produce. nia, a certified organic farm, in July 1998. Participants, mostly from Extension, partici-Also see FS00-118 (Projects involving pated in the day-to-day operation of a certi-field production of culinary herbs, fied organic farm.above) A post-workshop survey indicated that spe- cific knowledge of CSAs and related sus-Homeopathic animal remedies tainable agriculture issues dramatically increased for workshop participants.LNE97-086 (1997)Evaluation and Documentation of LNE96-077 (1996)Homeopathic Nosodes in Organic and Sea Change Urban Horticulture Center:Conventional Dairy Production Sustainable Agriculture InitiativesResearch and Education project One objective (of seven) was “to establishThe project objective was the measurement and evaluate a specialty herb and produceof homeopathic nosodes used for preven- operation offering organically grown spe-tion of mastitis and calf scours in organic cialty items to urban restaurants and foodand conventional dairy production (placebo- specialty businesses.”controlled, double-blind clinical field trial). In May 1997 the CSA [staffed by resi-There was a 25% reduction in infections in dents of a Detroit designated Empower-the treated group. ment Zone and using land leased from thewww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 13
  14. 14. Redevelopment Authority (RA)] became a certified Since 1989 soilless culture has become the norm organic farm with 33 family shareholders. Unfortu- in production of greenhouse herbs.] nately, the leased land was taken back by the RA, and Organic Production of Lobelia. Jeff Licht, of Lin- Sea Change was looking for new parcels after negoti- colnway Flower Farm, East Central Iowa, pre- ating one last season on the organically certified land. sented at the Fourth Richters Commercial Sea Change began selling organic produce to local res- Herb Growing Conference, in 1999. taurants (role of herbs not specified). Lincolnway raises several acres of lobelia from transplants, under contract with a major herb Selected Abstracts: Organic dealer. About 1998 Licht became certified organic. Herb Production in the U.S. He says, “The biggest problem that we have… is the Goldenseal [organic production]. Adrianne Sin- weeds.” After trying mulching between rows with clair and Paul M. Catling. 2001. Cultivat- oat straw, he now uses “soy-based printed news- ing the increasingly popular medicinal plant, papers between rows,” and weeds the crop at least goldenseal: Review and update. American three times by hand. Journal of Alternative Agriculture. Vol. 16, There is no way to dry herb crops in Iowa without No. 3. forced heat or forced air dryers. He has a well- p. 138. insulated 20x 30 drying room, with a circulat- Report on in-depth Canadian research project on ing fan to keep the air moving. production and marketing of goldenseal. Licht cautioned that crops and sales can be lost if Ginseng [organic production]. John Proctor. Pre- there is a hitch in the certification process. sented at Richters First Commercial Herb Field Production of Catnip. Renne Soberg, of Growing Conference, 1994. Proceedings. Soberg Farms, presented on organic field pro- p. 25–41. duction of catnip in Minnesota at the Fourth Field Production of Three Basil Cultivars. Peggy Jo Richters Commercial Herb Growing Confer- Reed. Presented at the 9th Annual National ence, in 1999. Conference of the International Herb Asso- He decided to grow catnip as his main crop in ciation. p. 52. In: Arlene Kestner, James E. 1999, after a buyer inspecting his sample offered to Simon, and Arthur O. Tucker (ed.). Proceed- buy all he had. In the spring he seeded 750,000 ings of Herbs ’94: Ninth Annual National catnip seeds in a third of an acre, but only 150 Conference of the International Herb Associa- plants germinated. tion. IHA, Mundelein, Illinois. From this he learned that spring seeding does not One paragraph on profitability of organically pro- work for catnip. But the weeds came; after cultiva- duced herbs. tion, he reseeded in August and irrigated heavily. That fall he had a good stand from seed. As an Organic Greenhouse Growing Techniques. Com- experiment Soberg also put out transplants he had mercial greenhouse grower Marjorie For- raised and found that there were pros and cons to tier, of Meadowbrook Herb Garden, Wyo- both propagation methods. ming, Rhode Island, presented at the Second Soberg raises a legume crop to fix nitrogen; red clo- National Herb Growing and Marketing Con- ver provides a saleable medium-grade herb crop in ference, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1987. its own right (flowering tops harvested by combine). Fortier’s outline of growing techniques was pub- Remember that red clover is a biennial and will lished in the conference Proceedings. She con- not bloom the first year it is seeded. He alternates cluded that “Most important points—proper red clover with the catnip in two fields. watering, good sanitation, continuous moni- Weeds continually get worse. He chops mulch and toring, adequate ventilation, and good soil—of then sets his cultivator so that he can still cultivate managing a greenhouse organically are very next to the plant. Most remaining weeds are sepa- much the same as conventional methods.” [Note: rated out by the harvesting process he uses. If anyPage 14 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  15. 15. foxtail gets through into the barn, it is manually National Conference of the International Herb removed. All foreign material must be removed Association. IHA, Mundelein, Illinois. prior to the cut-and-sift process. Marketing Herb Crops. Renne Soberg, of Soberg Soberg tailors the herbs he grows to his own pref- Farms, Lakeville, MN, presented at the Fourth erences. For instance, he will not raise mugwort Richters Commercial Herb Growing Confer- because the dust does not agree with him. He ence, in 1999, on the topic of marketing. advises, “Stay out of it if you’re motivated by just Soberg considers organic certification to be a mar- profits.” keting and quality assurance tool that makes it possible for him to ask at least two-and-a-half timesSelected Abstracts: Organic more for his herb crops. He says, “Price is a poor place to compete. One of the real proven methodsHerb Marketing for businesses that have survived for a long, long Herb Field Production and Processing with GAPs time is to produce an excellent product and then [Good Agricultural Practices] and GMPs [Good sell service.” Manufacturing Practices]. Alan De Young of Van Drunen Farms presented at the fifth [and Medicinal Root Crops. James Quinn, of QBI Inc., final] Richters Commercial Herb Growing Con- presented at the Third Richters Commercial ference in 2000. [Transcripts, p. 49–67.] Herb Growing Conference, in 1998, on the topic of grow-out trials for herbs sold to a New In business for 30 years, Van Drunen Farms pro- Jersey cosmetics manufacturer. vides a significant share of the dried organic culinary herbs and some medicinal herbs for QBI originated in Europe as “Island Organics.” nutraceutical products in the U.S. (where it has One of QBI’s aims was to identify whether herbs four processing plants, a warehousing facility, and they can grow in the United States compare favor- offices in Momence, Illinois, and Santa Rosa, Cali- ably with what they were importing. Primary objec- fornia). A plant producing biological cultures for tives of the trials were: the nutraceutical industry subcontracts with Bio- • Quickly bring about a reasonable amount of source in Mequon, Wisconsin. Processing, includ- production for Island Organics’ supply needs. ing freeze-drying, is 80% of the business, and farm- ing 20%. De Young comments on the difficulties • Learn about the various types of specialized of retrofitting an existing facility to Good Manufac- equipment to provide efficient mechanization turing Practices. Slides from the presentation are for production at all levels. included in this extremely valuable, detailed inside • Generate reliable field information. look at the organic herb processing and nutraceu- • Develop a network of growers who could sup- tical industry. ply product demands for future years. Nationwide marketing: Building brand identification • Establish regional businesses that can capi- [relevant to marketing organic herbs]. Philip talize on the increasing need for cul tivated Moore, presented at the 11th Annual National botanicals. Conference of the International Herb Associa- The field trials compared soil types and cropping tion. p. 80–88. In: Herbs ’96: Proceedings considerations; land preparation and soil fertility; of the Eleventh Annual National Conference seed germination; plant establishment and direct of the International Herb Association. IHA, seeding; plug transplants; weed control; cultiva- Mundelein, Illinois. tion and irrigation; crop economics; yields; harvest- Demographic and economic trends affecting the herb ing; drying; and diseases. Herb root crops raised industry in the 1990s and beyond. Paula C. included echinacea purpurea, E. pallida, dande- Oliver, presented at the 10th Annual National lion, black cohosh, ginseng, goldenseal, valerian, Conference of the International Herb Associa- yellowdock, and burdock. [Note: James Quinn tion. p. 31–32 [Organic Products in Demand]. regularly consulted with NCAT Agriculture Spe- In: Arlene Kestner and Arthur O. Tucker cialist Katherine Adam during the late ‘90s and (ed.). Proceedings of Herbs ’95: Tenth Annual kindly attributes the quote on one of his publishedwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 15
  16. 16. slides to her: “It’s not what your crop is worth, but Varietal Improvement of Herbs. Conrad Richter pre- how well you negotiate.”] sented at the First Richters Commercial Herb Growing Conference, in 1997, on improvement The most valuable part of this trial was the determi- of strains of medicinal herbs grown commer- nation of reliable yield information for these crops cially in Canada. over a period of three years, along with price/lb. offered. Quinn says, “Clearly, if some of these crops He suggested the following herbs, for which are only bringing $1.00 or $1.50 a pound, it’s very few if any improved varieties exist, for targeted questionable whether they’re even worth producing. research: ginseng, Echinacea, borage, evening [This yardstick would eliminate all the above crops primrose, feverfew, goldenseal, catnip, St. John- from consideration, except for goldenseal, and the swort, valerian, milk thistle, foxglove, chamomile, two echinaceas.] angelica, sheep sorrel, burdock, comfrey, and nettle. Richter noted: Contract Growers Requirements for the Production of Organic Herbs. An unidentified representa- One of the challenges we face as a herb seed tive of Trout Lake Farm presented at the First company is that many varietal improvements are unavailble to us. Established growers who Richters Commercial Herb Growing Confer- make their own selections from their crops do not ence, in 1997, on criteria for contract growing, offer seeds to other growers or to seed suppliers… based on Trout Lake’s company requirements A large grower of narrowleaf echinacea…annu- for contract growers. ally destroys over 1000 pounds of seed to inhibit Trout Lake Farm, certified by Oregon Tilth, was new entrants to the industry. This grower has started in 1973 near Bend, Oregon, and at its peak apparently judged that it is better to forego over had more than 1000 acres of herbs in production, $100,000 in seed revenues in order to maximize with 30 herb crops. Thirty other crops were being his return on roots. purchased from “outside sources,” including con- tract growers. Trout Lake Farm has operated since A long-range goal is to develop artificial seeds from 1999 under the corporate umbrella of Amway Cor- arrested somatic embryos that are dessicated and poration. coated, for those varieties that cannot be grown from natural seeds. Resources required for securing a contract to grow for Trout Lake: Spiritual Agriculture and Organic Medicinal Herb Production. Emigdio Ballom presented a slide • Growing and processing capability on an econ- show on his research at the fifth and final omy of scale appropriate for the crop and the Richters Commercial Herb Growing Confer- customer base. ence, November 4, 2000. Transcripts, p. 33– • Human resources: Management experience with 47. crops requiring the same production methods. Mr. Ballon, with South American university degrees Availability of hand labor. in agriculture and plant genetics, as well as doc- • Financial resources: Capital sufficient to cover toral studies at Colorado State University, works at upfront costs such as dehydrators, other special- Resting in the River Farm, Abiquiu, New Mexico, ized equipment, purchase of germplasm. where organic methods were being used [not neces- sarily certified organic]. He is currently researching • Land and equipment resources: Owned rather germination techniques for Chinese and Ayurvedic than leased preferred. herbs and the interface of Quechua farming tech- • Environmental factors present in the growing niques with modern agriculture. location: Must have ideal climate, soil, water, Value-added Products and Herbal Tinctures. Nick and freedom from pest pressures and contami- Morcinek, of Faunus Herbs, presented at the nation. First Richters Commercial Herb Growing Con- A major goal is to establish long-term relationships ference, in 1997, on the importance of organic with contract growers. Forward contracting of herb certification in marketing his farm’s herbal crops can be advantageous to both parties under products and on some herbs with value- the right circumstances. added potential—goldenseal, hops, eveningPage 16 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  17. 17. primrose, calendula, milk thistle, orris root, 4. Gail, Peter A. 1998. On the trail of the volun- bloodroot, North American mandrake (May teer vegetable: Untapped potential profit apple, umbrella plant), bloodroot, valerian, marketing your weeds. The Business of basil, and chamomile. Morcinek says, Herbs. November–December. p. 18–19, Why certified organic? We feature prominently the 26–27. certified organic logo on materials. For example, 5. University of Kentucky at Lexington. you might have five thousand pounds of echina- www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/pubs.htm cea root that you’ve grown and are meeting with a broker that wants to buy it. The only difference 6. Staff. 2002. Specialty forest products: It’s all between your competitor’s product and yours is that in the selling. Sustainable Agriculture. you can say that yours has been independently Minnesota College of Agriculture, Food & certified as organically grown. I will tell you now Environmental Science. July. p. 2. that you will make the sale. Your customers don’t 7. R. Terry Jones have to accept just your word when you say it is New Crops Opportunities Center organically grown if it’s independently verified. Department of Horticulture Feverfew—Field Production and Marketing. Richard University of Kentucky and David Borbely, of AgroPharm Technolo- Robinson Station, 130 Robinson Road gies, presented at the First Richters Commer- Jackson, KY 41339-9081 cial Herb Growing Conference, in 1997, on 859-257-9511, ext. 234 their vertically integrated corporate farming tjones@uky.edu venture in OCIA-certified medicinal botani- www.uky.edu/Ag/Horticulture/gardenflowers/ cals, near Simcoe, Ontario. chco.htm This report provides excellent details on organic www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/nccult.html production of feverfew on three acres. This venture 8. Missouri Center for Phytonutrient and adds value to the raw commodity by producing Phytochemical Studies feverfew tablets for over-the-counter retail sales. M121 Medical Sciences Building Columbia, MO 65212References info@phyto-research.org1. Walz, Erica. 2004. Fourth National Organic www.phyto-research.org Farmers’ Survey: Final Results. Organic Also: Thomas, Andrew L. 2002. Southwest Cen- Farming Research Foundation, Santa Cruz, ter launches medicinal herb research on black CA. p. 11. Also, Brussell, Juli. 2002. cohosh. Southwest Center [MO] Ruminations. Collaborative marketing through MAICS, January–March. p. 2–3. OFARM offers organic farmers collective bargaining power. OFRF Bulletin. Fall. 9. Coffield, Dana. 2002. Simply Organic launch p. 6. far from simple. The Natural Foods Mer- www.ofrf.org/publications/news/InfoBull11. chandiser. September. p. 1. pdf 10. Piscopo, Lauren. 2001. Herb preserve digs for2. Thompson, Gary. 2000. International consumer funding. Natural Foods Merchandiser. demand for organic foods. HortTechnol- May. p. 8. ogy. October–December. p. 663. Also, 11. Falk, Constance, Hildegard van Voorthuizen, Kortbech-Olesen. 1999. The United Marisa M. Wall, Steven J. Guldan, Charles States Market for Organic Food and Bever- A. Martin, and Kathryn M. Kleitz. 1999. ages. International Trade Center. Costs and returns of growing selected www.intracen.org/mds/sectors/organic/ medicinal herbs in New Mexico indicate usfdbev.pdf positive return to land and risk likely.3. Staff. 2002. ATTRA case letter 93539-1. HortTechnology. October–December. April 22. p. 681–686.www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 17
  18. 18. 12. Falk, Constance, H. van Voorthuizen, M. M. Sustainable Agriculture Program, Minn. Dept. Wall, S. J. Guldan, C. A. Martin, K. M. of Ag. p. 21–23. Kleitz. 2000. An economic analysis of First year project results for Renne Soberg’s transplanting versus direct seeding of medicinal herb project. selected medicinal herbs in New Mex- Hanks, Mary. 2000. Native Minnesota medicinal ico. Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal plant production. Greenbook 2000: Energy Plants. Vol. 7, No. 4. p. 17. and Sustainable Agriculture Program, Minn. Dept. of Ag. p. 21–25.Research Reports: Organic Herb Organic production, harvesting, drying, mar-Production keting procedures developed and evaluated for herbs with known strong market potential—net-Risk Management Report tle, catnip, dandelion, scullcap, pennyroyal, Brester, Gary, Kole Swanser, and Tim Watts. valerian, licorice, wormwood, and motherwort. 2002. Market Opportunities and Strategic Soberg Farm. Directions for Specialty Herbs and Essential Oil Crops in Montana. Prepared for Montana Periodicals Department of Agriculture and USDA Federal- Journal of Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants State Marketing Improvement Program. Watts Reports on research in tissue culture, analysis of and Associates, Billings, MT. 64 p. chemical constituents, nutrient management, www.ams.usda.gov/TMD/FSMIP/FY2000/ and disease and insect control for the major herb MT0294.pdf. crops in world commerce. Reports generally not about organic production. Largest percentageRichters Proceedings conducted in Egypt, India, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Berzins, Rita, and Conrad Richter (eds.). 1996. Costa Rica, Morocco, Albania, China, Paki- Richters First Commercial Herb Growing Con- stan, and other large volume, low cost produc- ference. Richters, Goodwood, Ontario, Can- ers. Until 2002 the U.S. was the chief source for ada. 93 p. organic herbs; many certified start-ups now pro- vide organic herbs to U.S. markets and manufac- Berzins, Rita, Helen Snell, and Conrad Richter turers from farms in Mexico, Central and South (eds.). 1997. Richters Second Commercial America, and the Caribbean. Herb Growing Conference. Richters, Good- wood, Ontario, Canada. 189 p. Sample articles Berzins, Rita, Helen Snell, and Conrad Richter Crockett, Sara L., and Ikhlas A. Khan. 2003. (eds.). 1998. Richters Third Commercial Challenges of standardization: Marker com- Herb Growing Conference. Richters, Good- pounds in plant species related and unrelated wood, Ontario, Canada. 169 p. to top-selling herbs. Journal of Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants. Vol. 10, No. 3. p. 13– Lundberg, Norma, and Conrad Richter (eds.). 24. 1999. Richters Fourth Commercial Herb Kato, Satomi, Dwight D. Bowman, and Dan L. Growing Conference. Richters, Goodwood, Brown. 2000. Efficacy of Chenopodium Ontario, Canada. 117 p. ambrosioides as an antihelmintic for treatment Snell, Helen, and Conrad Richter (eds.). 2000. of gastrointestinal nematodes in lambs. Vol. 7, Richters Fifth [and last] Commercial Herb No. 2. p. 11–25. Growing Conference. Richters, Goodwood, Mathe, Akos, and Chlodwig Franz. 1999. Good Ontario, Canada. 105 p. agricultural practice and the quality of phyto- medicines. ANNEX 1. Guidelines for GoodMinnesota Green Book Reports Agricultural Practice of Medicinal and Aro- Hanks, Mary. 1998. Native Minnesota medicinal matic Plants: European Version No. 1, August plant production. Greenbook ’98: Energy and 5, 1998. Vol. 6, No. 3. p. 101–113.Page 18 ATTRA Herb Production in Organic Systems
  19. 19. Singh, Kiran, and D.K. Singh. 1997. Mollusci- Books cidal activity of plant derived molluscicides. Vol. 5, No. 2. p. 67–72. Hartung, Tammi. 2000. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal. Storey Books, Pownal, VT. 250 p. HerbalGram Morgan, Lynette. 2002. Fresh Culinary Herb Pro- Journal of the American Botanical Council duction. Suntec, Ltd, Tocomaru, New Zea- www.herbalgram.org land. 139 p. Emphasis on medicinal and industrial use Call 800-888-6785 or 541-757-8477 to order by herbs, including research reviews. Published by phone. the American Botanical Council and the Herb U.S. distribution at: Research Foundation. www.growingedge.com/store Natural Foods Merchandiser Sturdivant, Lee, and Tim Blakley. 2000. Medici- nfm@newhope.com nal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace. San Juan Naturals, Friday Harbor, WA. OFRF Reporter 323 p. [See especially p. 57–59; 120–121.] Organic Farming Research Foundation. www.ofrf.org Whitten, Greg. 1998. Herbal Harvest: Com- mercial Organic Production of Quality Dried Growing for Market Herbs. Australia. 550 p. www.growingformarket.com Written for the commercial herb grower in Ocea- Sample article: nia. $125 (Aust.) Cantisano, Amigo “Bob.” 2000. Organic For more information see: growers can fertigate! Growing for Market. www.touchwoodbooks.co.nz/therbalharvest.html March. p. 8–9. Organizations Plant Disease Reporter Bureau of Plant Industry, USDA North Carolina State University Extension Sample article: www.ces.ncsu.edu Maruzzella, J.C., and J. Balter. 1959. The Research on medicinal herbs and herb entertainment farming. Principal researcher: action of essential oils on phytopathogenic Dr. Jeanne Davis. fungi. Plant Disease Reporter. Vol. 43, No. 11. p. 1143–47. Rural Action (Trimble, Ohio), 740-767-4938. To 1980, available from Supt. Of Documents, United Plant Savers (UpS) (Athens, Ohio), Washington, DC, or your regional government 740-662-0041. documents repository library. After 1980, avail- Thanks to reviewers Renne Soberg, of Lakeville, MN, able in microfilm or microform. (Inquire at your and Holly Born, NCAT. closest land-grant university library.) Journal of Economic Entomology Journal of the American Society of Entomology www.entsoc.org Sample article: Zalkow, L.H., M.M. Gordon, and N. Lanir. 1979. Antifeedants from rayless goldenrod and oil of pennyroyal: Toxic effects on the fall armyworm. Vol. 72. p. 812–15.www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 19
  20. 20. Related ATTRA Publications NCAT’s Organic Crops Workbook Seed Production and Variety Selection for Organic Systems Suppliers of Seed for Certified Organic Production (Web-only database) Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production Herbs: Organic Greenhouse Production Integrated Pest Management for Greenhouse Crops (series) Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures Sources of Organic Fertilizers and Amendments Plug and Transplant Production in Organic Systems Organic Farm Certification and the National Organic Program Overview of Organic Crop Production Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Native Roots Lavender Production, Products, Markets, and Entertainment Farming Herb Production in Organic Systems By Katherine L. Adam NCAT Agriculture Specialist ©NCAT 2005 Paul Williams, Editor Cynthia Arnold, Production This publication is available on the Web at: www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/om-herb.html or www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/om-herb.pdf IP224 Slot 231 Version 101305Page 20 ATTRA