Yarrow Flower Market Potential and Harvesting I
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Peter Hreese
Posted on: August 6, 2000

We live and farm in the Peace River country of northern Alberta. We are certified organic with OCIA. An Alsike clover field has about 40 acres of wild yarrow on it that is good enough to combine. Could you tell me, would there be a market for this? If so whom would I contact?

Any info would be greatly appreciated. By the way, the organic inspector has checked it, so the seed will be certified organic.

Yarrow flowers hold a limited market and may require special equipment (not yet invented) to be competitive. I’ve personally not yet tried to use a combine. Critical considerations on that would include a conveyor type delivery system to the hopper, much like a bean harvester (New Holland).

In your region, it is not uncommon to find native stands up to 300 acres (especially on overgrazed pastures) up next to forest lines. I think the entire domestic market needs is less than 400 acres, with most being imported from India at a landed price of less than $1.20/lb. It is still harvested by hand in Europe, with inexpensive labor sources.

The fact that you can get a COG [certified organic grown] on it makes it VERY interesting, especially right now. I might have a market, predicated on price and quality. This crop is not available in this form (yet), so there may be some regional interests. Prices might begin at $4.00/lb., FOB in small quantities. 40 acres might yield up to 150 lbs. per acre, making it well worth an attempt with a combine.

Send me samples as they develop. I can grade it, and then show it around to see if we can generate some niches for this product. I will need to see a COG paper now, so they can have that on file. Most buyers want to see that document before they want to review a crop for purchase. Why? Most buyers do not enjoy approving something they then cannot buy.

There is also a small and limited market for the seed. I think, however, your best shot would be to see how easily the flower is taken. The quality is the issue, and a COG would probably make that market fly right now. Overall, the markets are depressed (at the moment), but that should change shortly as inventories are now depleted from last year.

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