Echinacea Angustifolia Market for 2006
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Sarah Pruis
Posted on: February 13, 2006

I am at the very beginning of researching niche crops that we can grow at our farm in Michigan. I am wondering how the echinacea market looks for the future, and if it is worthwhile to pursue at the moment.

Also, how do I go about finding buyers/market for this or any other herb? I am also contemplating growing stevia. Right now I am not looking to investing a lot of time or money on this. This year I will be focusing on just "playing around" with what works best, and deciding if this is what we really want to do.

Thanks for any info you can give me, I realize I have just seen the tip of the herbal information iceberg!

You will need to be a bit more specific regarding Echinacea spp. The E. purpurea markets are saturated, while the E. angustifolia is wide open right now = shortages. Keep in mind that markets now for this crop are not what they might be in 4 years, your first possible harvest schedule.

There is a second page to this question. A new taxonomy being developed up in Saskatoon now hold that Echinacea purpurea is not even an Echinacea but really a Rudbecia purpurea. For the most part, the chemistries are quite different. And, the journal Economic Botany ran a good story on how the Germans got their hand on the wrong root. In the mid-West a distinction is made between Kansas snake root and Missouri snake root.

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/altagri/echinacea.htm

Echinacea angustifolia is a true North American Indian herbal that went from being a "medicinal" (alleged use) to a true "pharmaceutical" herb (known chemistry). I have even written an entire book (PDF download on how to grow this root, including spread sheets and market variations from one year to the next. See www.herbfarminfo.com

The problem is where you want to grow this root. This crop is one of the very few that is "habitat sensitive," not who or some much how it was grown. The finest root comes from Alberta, Manitoba, Montana, North Dakota, and a slip into Wyoming. No other root can compete with crop from this region of North America. This region only receives its water from snowpack, and this is what changes the rootbark and chicoric acid content.

Wisconsin is best suited for such root crops as Mandrake, Blood Root, Wild Indigo, Ginseng, and Golden Seal. Wisconsin is also famous (well-suited) for their mint crops, specifically Peppermint. Rebauld’s Stevia is also a mint, so it probably would cultivate very well as a leaf mint crop. Be sure to make sure this area does not have infestations of Versilium rust, common in WI now.

Finding markets for these and other crops is verging on an artform. Froogle, a division of Google search engine, is often very useful.

http://froogle.google.com/frghp?hl=en&tab=wf&q=

My website also has numerous article and references, like

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/altagri/marketingrsrc.htm

I guess you need to begin your Farm Plan now. Always hold in mind that market is then projected four years later (not what they are doing now). That’s why market predications require a bit of "witchcraft," and divination. How else can I help you?

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