Herb Buyers and How to Find Them
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Roger Young
Posted on: July 29, 1998

Thank you for the e-mail response on 7-24 on my questions about growing & selling lavender.

Having trouble finding phone numbers for Penta MFG in Fairfield and Robertet in Oakland as well as Whole Herb in Mill Valley.

As a rule, I generally do not give complete addresses, as I want people to learn how to find them for themselves. Not only can they be found in my book "The Potential of Herbs As A Cash Crop", but other references are also given in the "Bulk Marketing" chapter. The one I am using to respond to your question is the OPD Chemical Buyer’s Directory:

Penta Manufacturing Co P.O.Box 1448 Fairfield, NJ 07007 (201) 575-7475

Robertet, Inc. P.O.Box 660 Oakland, NJ 07436 (201) 337-7100

Whole Herb Co. 19800 E 8th. St. Sonoma, CA 95476 (707) 935-1077

Whole Herb Co. has moved to larger warehousing in Sonoma (from Mill Valley). How I got his current address was by calling AT&T Operator, and selecting Option 1 - Directory of Assistance by Category and/or by State. My OPD is from 1992, so some of the information might be "dated." Also, my responses are often given so as to help teach you how to help yourself.

In an old newsletter, (and what I plan to speak on at the October conference), is "How To Get Started," including "Do’s and Don’ts" in the marketing aspects. One of the primary "Don’ts," of course, is contacting buyers before you have something to show them. This is wasting their and your time, as neither of you have anything to really talk about yet.

Grow it first, then talk about what you can do - not what you would like people to think you do. This contaminates the industry, and makes it more difficult for valid growers to enter. Feasibility studies on small acreage is for you to determine if there are profit margins available in growing these crops. Most buyers are not farmers, and do not have a clue as to these types of costs, nor do they really care.

Their world consists of making decisions on purchasing crops at the moment. Contracts are offered to known growers, with a history of production. Too much money is at stake, and most buyers will not even want to talk with you further. Grow it, know that you can grow it right, and then buyers will often find you. If you do it correctly, marketing will not be your problem.

This is why I am hesitant to give out addresses. Premature presentations often lead to doors being closed to others now ready to show their crops. This is part of the "ethics issues," and represents not so much "what you do," but rather "how you do it." That is where your "foundation" should start, and why North American Agriculture is still considered the "Best Buy" there is.

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