Herb Growing and Processing in Turkey
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Kutsi Tusuz
Posted on: September 17, 2006

This is Kutsi Tusuz from Turkey. I am 33 years old. I have a BSc. degree in Chemical Engineering folowed by an MBA degree at Baruch College, NY.

Since last year -following my business trip to China- I am interested in herbs collecting, growing and now processing. I will buy your book on herb processing. I am sure I will learn a lot from it. We went to China to sell pistachios to Chinese but ended up in the herb business. Life is full of surprises.

We have exported 10 mt of Tribulus Terrestris to India last year with a friend. Early this year I have started my own company Arhan Ltd with my brother-in-law. We have about 20 mt of tribulus in stock, and at the end of the month, it will add up to 40 mt. We have already agreed on a 2x40’dv deal with an American company.

Turkey’s climate is similar to that of Bulgaria’s. Many herb species grow in the wild, and there are very good results in the active ingredient content.

Some are as follows (most of them are available in huge quantities in the wild)

Tribulus terrestris herb (high protodiocsin content)

Taraxacum officinale herb

Silybum marianum seed

Crocus sativus (stigmata croci)

Carthamus tinctorius

French maritime pine bark-pinus pinaster (contains pycnogenol)

Hypericum perforatum herb

Urtica dioica (leaves)

Laurel leaves

Myrtle leaves

Ruscus aculeatus root

Valerian root

Melissa officinalis leaves

Ballota nigra

Tussilago farfara

Plantago major

Crataegus sp.- hawthorn (over 100 species available in Turkey)

and many others.

Kindly advise which of the above could be best marketed in the US, Europe and India. And what other herbs are demanded in these markets.

We are also interested in growing of herbs such as feverfew, black cohosh, senega, pipsissewa, bloodroot etc. that are native to Canada and US. But of course with tens of questions in mind. Which to grow, how togrow, how to process, how to market? How can we get the seeds? How much seed of each do we need? What are the regulations in exports to US? What should we do to sell herbs to a giant such as Martin Bauer?

I have many other questions but I will stop here. This is already too long and it’s 3 am in the morning. Really excited to come across your website.

I’m on vacation at the moment, so my response may not have the depth I would otherwise offer. Plus, I don’t have my dBase information to include detail and depth. With that said, let’s get into your various questions. I love your excitement and passion; it reminds me of myself (half a century ago.)

Yes, you should read my book on processing, available at www.herbfarminfo.com. I have also written book on wild crafting called ""Native Plants of Commercial Importance." That book was self-published under OAK, so it is available from me, Acres, USA, Richters of Canada, and others.

Some of your list of herbs needs further definition. For example, Plantago major has no real markets. BUT, Plantago ovata has unbelievable markets for its outer hull (Psyllium). It is used as a bulk fiber laxative in almost every drug store in America. The seed is sold as a by-product for cattle feed. There are no markets for the leaf.

And, like all major crops, new technologies are needs to make it more competitive and price available. This product, for example, shatters prior to harvests, and needs to be grown in an environment where there is NO wind during this period. Special combines have been developed to lay paper down for the immature seed to release the hull onto a paper trail, which is then picked up later for combine thrashing and recovery. I would also use vacuums for delivery.

OK, now you get the bigger picture? Each crop has its own needs and concerns. It would appear as if marketing is not your problem, but technologies needed for a crop to become a world trade commodity. Page 2: I am now 62 and would love to travel and see the world. To that end, I am available as an outside consultant.

I will be back at home in Grants Pass, Oregon, after October 3rd. You might consider me in that venue, as I have never been to your part of the world. Warehousing layout and protocols are something I have done for more than 30 years. And, with your description of crops and volume, I might be one of the better investments. I could train your labor, as I have done other large processing centers. My physics background makes me unique in this field of agriculture.

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