Organic Greenhouse-Grown Herbs in Saskatchewan
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Harvey Stewart
Posted on: September 20, 2000

I’ve just finished reading an old article in "Acres" about you and your business. Maybe you can help me.

I farm in Southeast Saskatchewan and last year my wife and I started a certified organic greenhouse. It is a 30’ x 72’ double poly greenhouse with two 200 thousand BTU unit heaters in it for heating all year round. I have raised concrete beds covering approximately 800 sq. ft. of the greenhouse with 12000 watts of grow lights and drip irrigation. So far we’ve grown tomatoes, cucumbers, egg plants, peppers, beets, peas, squash, melons and several other things.

I’m interested in growing herbs and or spices in it during the cooler winter months. I grow caraway on field scale and have grown coriander and dill also on field scale. I believe that there is a market for organic herbs on a greenhouse scale that would be profitable to grow. Trouble is I don’t know which herbs might be the best to try. Due to limited funds I can’t travel around North America to these shows to talk to buyers and sellers of these products to see what I should grow and who would buy it.

Do you have any suggestions on which herbs or spices I could possibly try and to whom I could possibly market them? Thank you for any help you can give me.

Right off the bat, I recommend that you get Sandie Shore’s book, "Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs" (available from Richters). Sandie wrote her book based on her experiences running a fresh-cut herb operation in Minnesota. Besides the climatic similarity, her book comes from the all important experience of having to market fresh herbs to isolated markets. She covers all the fresh cut herbs with the most potential.

You don’t specifically mention *fresh* herbs, but no doubt that is what you are thinking about. In this competitive environment where agricultural products can come from anywhere in the world, you need to play up your local advantages. Selling fresh herbs that are better quality if only because they did not travel long distances is an advantage you should seriously consider. Do not think of growing culinary herbs in the greenhouses for the dried market.

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