Can Growing and Selling Herbs at Home Be Profitable?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Cathy and Garry Conn
Posted on: October 23, 1998

We interested in starting a home business, growing and selling herbs. Can you help us? Can this be a profitable business? We both enjoy growing things, and most say we have a greenthumb.

Most certainly! Herbs can be grown profitably in the smallest of places. I remember speaking to a herb grower in a small town in Mississipi this summer who is growing over 100 varieties of herbs in pots in her suburban backyard, and even selling some wholesale to local garden centres! There is even a book devoted to your backyard herb business called "Profits from Your Backyard Herb Garden" (available from Richters) which explains how to set up a business selling fresh cut herbs and pots.

The key at this stage is to get as much information about the business you can. That means learning all you can about commercial growing, including such things as pots, soils, labels, fertilizers, pest control, seeding and planting, etc. That also means marketing and focussing on what opportunities exist in your area. It may be that local grocers are having trouble getting adequate fresh-cut herbs. It may be that restauranteurs would welcome a fresher, better quality product. It may be that only the basic herb plants are available in your area, and people are looking for more. Do a little market research to see what is greatest need in your area.

Fortunately, the toughest thing we faced when we started out 30 years ago is no longer a problem for fledgling herb businesses: herbs are better understood and appreciated, and most important, are in better demand, than when we began. The hard work of creating demand for herbs has already been done for you. You need only to meet the demand with a quality product at a competitive price.

There are many books you can look at. The "backyard" book I mentioned already, plus "Growing Your Herb Business" and "Herbs for Sale" are just a few that will feed you with good ideas. All books are available from Richters.

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