Maybe I Should Stop Fighting Burdock as a Weed and Grow It for Profit
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Sheila Campbell
Posted on: March 29, 2006

I have had no interest in growing commercially until now. I have such an excellent crop of wild burdock annually that I am considering to stop fighting it and start growing it commercially. Any suggestions?

A real novice.

Sounds to me like The Lord is trying to suggest something to you. Burdock is one of the 50 top selling roots crops in the world, most as a vegetable. The first thing you want to identify is who will buy it in the fresh Chinese and Japanese markets. Begin there. I wrote the following almost four years ago.

Now you need to determine which Burdock has infested your property. Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) is the primary root harvested for the dried herb trade. Common Burdock, (Arctium minus Bernh.), is primarily marketed as an Asian vegetable. That crop can be very locative. Greater Burdock is usually harvested as a clean-up project, and usually not cultivated.

First-year root from Common Burdock is best harvest in the early spring for the fresh produce markets. Since the root must appear "whole," it is often harvested by hand. This can bring in top dollar, but is limited to fresh crop delivery protocols (daily). It may be too late to section this off for those kinds of markets.

I also deal in the dried markets with Greater Burdock, to include some export possibilities (volumes). These are usually two to three year old plants, and can be plowed. A rotary mower is used to trash the tops, and then a simple potato plow or disk plow can be used.

The crop must be very clean (food grade), and cut down for drying in the sun. Burdock has been used as an herbal coffee substitute, but that would include fine cut milling and sifting (to size), and then roasting. Canada is now producing Dandelion and Chicory Root for a roasted TBC (12-30 mesh USS) at $5.50/lb., FOB farm-gate. Burdock might be competitive.

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