Goldenseal Marketing
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Rita Kaller
Posted on: June 17, 1998

I am growing goldenseal in a natural woodland setting. It grows extremely well here and is prolific. I have concentrated on growing goldenseal, but not on marketing. Now I am starting my search for buyers. Where do I start? I have read both of the books you often recommend, "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop" and "Herbs for Sale", but I am still not having much luck. I am thinking of developing my own web site and offering the product directly. Can you offer any advice?

Goldenseal Root is in short supply right now, so you should have no trouble marketing it at a very good price. Today, prices are somewhat stable at U.S. $35 to $36 per pound, FOB your dock (in 2,000-lb. quantities). There are a number of small buyers, all probably willing to pay more for buying "direct."

To begin a buyer’s list, start with the OPD Annual Chemical Buyers Directory. This is part of the bi-monthly tabloid "Chemical Marketing Reporter." This has a section with spot prices (NYC) for this and other botanicals, including articles on what’s happening the trade.

Your library should have this annual directory available in their reference section. 1998 is their 85th year for this annual trade directory. Look up who sells Goldenseal Root, and that begins your call-list. "The Potential of Herbs As A Cash Crop" has other excellent resources like this in Chapter 9: Bulk Marketing. Acres, USA has just reprinted a "Revised and Expanded Edition," (available from Richters) where I updated prices for crops, and addresses for buyers.

All regional wholesalers, like Lebermuth (South Bend, IN), Herbarium (Kenosha, WI), San Francisco Herb (Emeryville, CA), and Star West Botanicals (Rancho Cordova, CA) will buy direct from growers. The hard part is grinding this root down for tableting (40-mesh) and capsulating (80-mesh). It’s hard on knives, and slow to grind.

My new book in press titled "Forest Farming" (will be available from Richters) has a chapter on how to farm this crop in the woods, using natural canopy and terracing. This is much cheaper than lathe housing techniques, and offers a better quality of hydrastine than other forms of cultivation. I am also available to market this crop as a broker.

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