Growing Herbs in Greece
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Goerge Konteos
Posted on: April 7, 2001

We are a newly established farmers’ cooperative aiming to produce aromatic plants in Kozani, Greece. Kozani is at the region of West Macedonia in northern Greece. We are also involved in saffron production but under a different cooperative scheme. Now, we are interested in producing other aromatic plants, such as oregano, basil, echinacea, beebalm, anise or other plants that might be appropriate for our soils and climate.

For the moment we have some 120 acres of land and we are at the stage of experimenting with plants and we are seeking cooperations with companies such as yours. Therefore please inform us on the following:

- can we order seeds from your company for the above plants?

Yes, we ship seeds of these aromatic and medicinal plants all over the world. You need to check with your government’s agricultural authority on the specific importation requirments for seeds and plants. If you require an import permit, then you need to send us a copy translated into English.

- can we order plants?

Yes, some herbs are best grown from cuttings or by division and not by seed, so you need to acquire plants. We can offer young starts -- what we call "plug trays" with 120 plants per tray. Generally, to ship only a few trays is not economical, but for larger orders of say 10 trays or more, plug trays are worth while. Increasingly, we can offer plants inspected and approved for foreign markets. In the case of Greece, we are willing to make the effort to meet your government’s requirements.

- can you suggest anything that might help us in our initial stages of production?

Marketing should be your main preoccupation. These herbs are relatively easy to grow as commercial crops, but marketing is not as easy. As you already know from your previous work with saffron, herbs are a specialized market. Each of the herbs generally require different production and marketing approaches. Buyers of echinacea or oregano are unlikely to be the same as buyers of saffron. Each herb requires individual analysis.

It is hard to obtain pricing and cost information for herb crops, and when such data exist, it is not often widely applicable to all areas. You should study the online "Selected Web Resources for Commercial Growers" in the "Richters InfoCentre" area of our website. And you should acquire some for the excellent commercial production books that we offer; specifically, you should look at "Herb and Spice Production Manual," "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop" and "Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace," all of which may be ordered online from the Richters online catalogue.

Please note that we are quite experienced in the production and marketing of saffron and therefore we already have an established interest in aromatic plants. By that we mean that we are very serious about this business and we will be very pleased to establish strong and honest relationships with other serious organisations

We have helped thousands of herb businesses get their start. We have over thirty years of experience in the herb industry, and extensive data resources in our research library, files and databases which we can turn to for specific, technical information.

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