What Can I Grow In Florida
Answered by: Rick Miller
Question from: Walker
Posted on: January 27, 2009

I live in SW Florida, and am looking to grow some type(s) of plants to be used for medicinal purposes in a commercial way that is marketable to the pharmaceticul industry.

I have 30+ years in the agriculture industry and would like to try something new.

I always thought Vanilla Bean might be an interesting crop for southern Florida. Vanilla Bean, is the fully-grown fruit of the orchid Vanilla fragrens (Salisb.) Ames (syn. V. plantifolia Andrews). The best cultivar (my opinion) is the Bourbon variety from Madagascar.

This will grow very well in Haqaii and Florida, as much of it is now imported from that region into most of the world. I think FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA) even has precise volumes and prices sold within the US. It can be a very profitable crop, with correct marketing access. In fact I could create a list of crops best suited for Costa Rica.

There are numerous books on this subject. The best resources I would begin with would include Gunther’s Essential Oils (6-volume). Then, I would use the Tropical Agricultural Series on Spices (2-volume), Purseglove, et al. Longman House, Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex, UK, c1981. This is precisely how to begin cultivation and harvests.

I have an herbal coffee substitute formula that would market extremely well in North America right now. It would also need Chicory Root, Dandelion Root, Licorice Mint and Stevia Leaf, with this Vanilla Bean. I have a business plan available, including roasters and distributors. The market is ready for this, and Umpqua Dairy now offers French Vanilla Ice Cream as their major top seller (not Chocolate).

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