Seeking Local Vendor of Catnip
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Louise Krupp
Posted on: July 01, 2007

We are a manufacturer of pet products, and we sell catnip leaf and a concentrated spray. We are interested in located a vendor who could sell us 5,000 to 10,000 lbs of Nepeta cataria annually. Could you provide names and contacts for us?

Over the last seven year, the markets for this crop fell into a vast black hole. As a result, my very best farmers, ones who have grown this crop for more than 15 years all left this industry. This is why North America now needs more than 60,000 new small farms. Most of the catnip now comes from other countries, as imports.

I personally have grown it for more than 35 years, but am now semi-retired and do not own my own farm land anymore. It is easy to grow, and I would be willing to find a farmer for you and train him personally. This means, however, you could not get catnip from this new source until probably September, 2008.

The amount you seek is less than five acres, when in full production. If grown correctly, you can actually use the herb, rather than separating the leaf from the stem. This process is far more expensive, and won’t yield that much better chemistry. I think the only country that might import leaf is Israel, while current sources in Canada are not worth purchase.

With that said, U.S. grown catnip would be the best in the world, since I would personally oversee the establishment and harvest. You could say you had your own domestic source of supply (not an import), and it would be cheaper than any of the imports you would even consider purchasing. With this thought, and the rising costs of transportation, I would need to know what state to set up the farm.

There are other variables to consider, of course, but this would secure your cottage industry with quality control and assurance of product each year. If you were smart, being vertically integrated always gives the best control on final product, and would assure continuance, even during droughts and herb market glitches, like the last seven years. Simple processing could be done for pennies.

I think the best way to proceed now is for you to call me. Mornings are best. My office is 541-476-5588, and am open at 8 AM Pacific Time.

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