Ready to turn your herb-gardening hobby into a business? Sandie Shores details the fundamentals of commercial herb growing in a thorough, well-organized reference. Written from the vantage of the author's 14 years of experience in the business, the information is practical and practicable. Profiles and anecdotes from other growers around the country are interspersed throughout the book.
The section on business basics starts with a thoughtful discourse on personal objectives and market research and continues with site selection and a thorough list of potential customers, from restaurants to distributors. The section on greenhouses for year-round growing includes practical discussion on materials and construction, interior layout, and systems design, so there's no need to purchase a separate greenhouse reference. Further discussion of growing methods focuses on sustainability, and pest-management suggestions include preventative awareness of life cycle and preferred environments. Handling and harvesting tips, uses, and specialized packaging advice are provided for 14 different herbs, inclusive of the wide selection found in the majority of markets today. Lesser-known herbs are touched on, as are edible flowers. A list of resources and support publications concludes the book.
The author takes the mystery out of this business, filling a near vacuum with this reference, but at the same time presents the potential hazards and attention required. One caveat: the black-and-white photos and sketches are generally useful, but one wishes for color pictures of the herbs themselves, given that part of the appeal of fresh herbs is the vibrant color and texture that promise romance to the nose and taste buds. --Molly McElroy
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This definitive guide for those looking to start or expand their own herb business focuses entirely on fresh-cut herbs for the grower who supplies restaurants or supermarkets, vends at farmers markets, or sells from her own retail space. Discussed are the value of a business plan and how to find the right niche for the business. Whether selling to supermarkets, wholesalers, brokers, or caterers, growers will benefit from these business tips. Valuable advice is provided on financing; honouring local zoning laws; creating invoices and packing slips; managing employees; pricing and marketing; maintaining accounts; and increasing business. All aspects of building a greenhouse are addressed, from selecting a prime location and building a structure to the equipment needed to grow, including lights, thermostats, benches, and irrigation systems. Other topics include growing and nurturing plants from germination through harvest; assessing the needs of different herb crops and edible flowers; and harvesting and packaging the finished product.