The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer
The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale
A new approach to growing local medicine, including information on geo-authenticity, wildcrafting, and developing a good business plan
Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal Western herbs.
Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products.
Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including:
• Size and scale considerations;
• Layout and design of the farm and facilities;
• Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools;
• Field and bed prep;
• Plant propagation;
• Weed control, and pests and diseases;
• Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals;
• Postharvest processing; and,
• Value-added products and marketing.
The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology.Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically.
The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.
Reviews and Praise
"The Carpenters, protégés of 'Fairy Godmother of Herbalism' Rosemary Gladstar (who is also Melanie's mother), generously share knowledge gained through their now shuttered business, Sage Mountain Herbal Products, and 15 years of medicinal herb farming in Vermont. The book begins with a nuts-and-bolts manual that includes 'thinking like a business manager,' farming 'for profit, not production,' facility design, fertility needs of medicinal plants, development of value-added products, and manageable ways to integrate polycultures and permaculture principals into a commercial farming operation. Next the authors profile 50 medicinal plants, including details of each plant's life cycle, growing conditions, planting and processing considerations, medicinal uses, yields, and even the current retail price per pound, giving prospective growers information essential to determining crop viability in their own specific circumstances. Most helpfully, the Carpenters share their decision-making processes for determining the optimal number of species to grow and weighing the financial viability of hand-harvesting versus borrowing to buy harvesting equipment.”