Looking for Buyers for Organic Echinacea
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Wesley Kostaluk
Posted on: June 26, 2002

My name is Wes Kostaluk and my family and I have grown an organic echinacea crop. We are currently looking for a potential buyer. The crop is certified and will be harvested this fall [2002]. Our plants are big and produce many seed pods. In the area that our crop is, there is also an abundance of dandelion, which we also wish to harvest. The dandelion is organic as well.

We hope to sell the whole plant, as we are aware that the leaves of the echinacea and dandelion are also very useful.

A full lab report by the Alberta Farmers Association can and will be provided to any potential buyer.

If you have any interest or any possible leads for us, then please reply.

I have several questions I need to ask prior to fully respond. First, I presume your crop Echinacea angustifolia? I have no real markets for any other species. Alberta is considered on of the best growing regions in the world. (See my book on this crop at www.herbfarminfo.com)

Second, your crop certified organic (COG) by what agency? Most willing to spend the higher value requires this paper trail for manufacturing claims. I have a number of growers already cultivating this crop in your region, as the markets for this crop are now beginning to increase again (after the last three years of lull).

Third, have you contacted other brokers from your region (like Wanda Wolf)? She often acts as a lead scout for my marketing efforts. I would need to see samples before I could advise you further on the value of your crop. There are no real markets for the leaf at this time. (See previous comments under commercial cultivation questions at www.richters.com.)

I normally sell up to 20,000 lbs. per year of COG Echinacea angustifolia. Sales volumes are off a bit right now, but I anticipate that to change shortly (next three months) with the new crop harvests. Current world market price is stable at US$14.00/lb., FOB Canada.

Dandelion root is also "hot" right now, and I am working with several provinces on the production of a processed and roasted coffee substitute (for Starbucks). Both Wanda Wolf and Harold Moen are involved. Chicory root (roasted) and fenugreek seed might also be added to this market niche. Dandelion Leaf has a more limited market.

Current pricing for a cut-and-sifted (1/8-inch) root that is then roasted correctly now sells for US$5.50/lb., FOB, in 2,000-lb. quantities. Roasting smaller quantities is probably not cost efficient, nor does it have quality assurance (reproducible quality from one lot to another). There is also a more limited market for powders (less than 1/12-inch particle).

Your lab report will need to contain ash content (dirt levels), moisture levels, and bacterial and mold counts. What else are they measuring? How else can I help you?

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