Profitable Medicinal Herbs to Grow in Southern California
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Jenna Armstrong
Posted on: July 01, 2007

I wanted to start growing medicinal herbs on a very small scale, starting from potted and working up to acres, and I was wondering which herbs would be the best to start out with in the San Diego area, where it frosts for a short time in the winter and can reach 115 F in the summer. I was also wondering, how much do each of these herbs usually pull in? What is the market for these herbs? Also, how do I find buyers?

You need further information to ask the right questions. What you are asking is far too broad of questions to properly respond in this format. Let’s begin by having you read my book "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop." I have written extensively on all of your questions in that book alone. My website also has a number of good beginning question responses at

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/altagri/a_a_index.html

Farming usually implies 2+ acres on a single crop. Yields vary, of course, but most hay-type crops yield more than $2,000/adcre, with more labor incomes available from such floral crops as grains, yielding $20,000/acre. What most farms have to offer is not so much raw materials as from the labor available, by adding value (cottage industry) to the crop. If Catnip were grown as a raw material, incomes would be only $2,000/acre. But, if it was then made into a pet toy, yields could be more $20,000.

In San Diego, one single basil grower netted almost $1,200,000 from just four acres of basil. They then put it up into frozen pesto for the Neiman-Marcus catalog. This required processing equipment and a walk-in storage unit. These are niche markets, and as much value as one can add before the product leave the farm, the more solid the income base.

As far as markets go, I have learned that the market is increased by availability. Selling your crop is the easy part, growing it correctly to enter that market is where skill and time is required. How else can I help you at this time?

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