Looking for a Buyer for Alaskan Herbs
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Sage Deerborn
Posted on: May 3, 2003

We are a small organic farm located in Nikolaevsk, Alaska. We harvest Oplopanax horridum (Devil’s Club) off of our property as well as other wildcrafted plants. We are looking for a buyer for Devil’s Club (harvesting this spring), and need to know in what form they want it, e.g. peeled, shredded, chopped.

I first harvested Devil’s Club root back in 1971, trying to create a "West Coast Ginseng". Later I discovered (mass specs) that it only contained ginsengic flavanoids, useful to help make things "taste" like ginseng.

The Quilliut Macaw used it to stun fish, but I have not identified chemistries to account for that ethnobotanical use. So, markets are VERY thin, with the primary buyer in Portland, Oregon (Eclectic Institute).

I might suggest other crops for your region, but would need more detail on what you actually want to do. This is about lifestyles. I have written on Devil’s Club root, see www.richters.com, and then go to the Q/A section on commercial cultivation questions.

Also, you might review some of my e-books at www.herbfarminfo.com. My site also has a list of services I offer, to include business plans for those getting started. I do not see this industry supporting raw material production. Rather, this field is well-suited to making a product on the farm (cottage industry).

When I was in Fort Yukon, visiting the natives, I suggested Rose Hip Butter for the regional Safeway. Of course, that was back in 1985, and the markets and options have changed significantly.

I personally grow wormwood for absinthe markets, and dandelion root as an herbal coffee substitute. I do these like I did my Herbal Chew, as a metaphor and template on what you might do with your own ideas. Why not regional medications, in their original ways of delivery? <just a thought>

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