Processing Echinacea into Products Instead of Selling Bulk Roots II
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Colette Wilson
Posted on: February 19, 2001

I wish to learn more about the cottage industry in relation to EA. I am ready to start creating a business plan. I have contacted a lending institution and related my ideas to them. They are ready to hear details. Can you get me started?

There are a number of products currently marketed using Echinacea angustifolia (EA). The most common "delivery system" is via an alcohol tincture, but there are several using it in other forms. For example, the hot cereal Cream of The West uses it as a fortified additive ("for the flu season").

One of the best I’ve seen is called "Super Echinacea," and is made from 2 parts tincture of EA to 1 part tincture of Echinacea purpurea seed. This includes chicoric acid to be part of the overall product, not found in EA. Hence, the "super" part of the label.

Cottage industries are the "artistic" part of marketing off the farm. This is also where the profits and margins lie for successful marketing in niche agriculture. Delivery of chemistry and availability of the concept (like a cold remedy) are what drives these markets.

This part can not be taught, but must come from individuals seeing a new market need. There are a few sources for this kind of information, to include Acres, USA, Small Farm Today, and Countryside & Small Stock Journal. Most of my current writings and workshops center on this as the single most important aspect of the farm business plan.

If you need help in this area, I am available as an outside consultant. Most of my Farm Plans are to help create cottage industries around the herb and spice trade. These would include spreadsheets and marketing proforma. What makes most successful is persistence, not the "genius" aspects of the idea. How bad do you want it? The one who wants it most is the one who "wins."

I plan to discuss these concepts when participating at Richters Herb Farming Intensive Workshop in October (2001). A Winnipeg conference in March 2001, sponsored by the Manitoba Herb Society, will be devoted to the future direction of fortified additives in the herb trade. This might be an excellent place to begin your search for a cottage industry you might want to pursue.

I will be at both events, offer workshops specific to the development of cottage industries in our trade. Not much has been written on that aspect, so this is one of my new directions for articles and opportunities. Stay tuned.

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