How to Grow Herbs for Market

Overview

Fresh herbs can transform a bland meal into something special. Shoppers are willing to pay a premium for fresh herbs at farmer's markets and grocery stores. Restaurants are another market for fresh herbs. Many see the benefit to themselves and their customers to buying locally grown herbs. Catering companies, school cafeterias and nurseries are also potential markets for fresh herbs and herb plants.

Step 1

Choose popular varieties. The University of Kentucky found in a 2006 survey of area restaurants that the most desired herbs were basil, chives, cilantro, parsley and rosemary. Horseradish, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon and thyme also garnered interest from potential purchasers of fresh herbs.

Step 2

Develop a method of growing herbs year-round. For most producers, this means a greenhouse for use either year-round or during the colder months. This insures your regular buyers will always have access to fresh herbs.

Step 3

Keep it clean. The University of Kentucky found that either raised beds with plastic mulch or hydroponically grown herbs required less cleaning, a plus when marketing herbs to both restaurants and consumers.

Step 4

Limit use of pesticides. Because herbs are eaten both fresh and in cooked foods, consumers favor as little contact with chemicals as possible. Row covers are one way to control some insect predators by screening the herbs from insect damage.

Step 5

Harvest your herbs as close to time of delivery as possible. Harvest by hand and pack in coolers right away.

Things You'll Need

  • Greenhouse
  • Plastic mulch or hydroponic system
  • Row covers
  • Coolers

References

  • University of Kentucky: Culinary Herbs
  • North Carolina State University: Growing Herbs as a Cash Crop

Who Can Help

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Growing Herbs for Market
Keywords: growing herbs, selling herbs, most popular herbs

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.