The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer
The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale
Foreword by Rosemary Gladstar
A new approach to growing local medicine, including information on geo-authenticity, wildcrafting, and developing a good business plan
Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal Western herbs.
Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products.
Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including:
• Size and scale considerations;
• Layout and design of the farm and facilities;
• Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools;
• Field and bed prep;
• Plant propagation;
• Weed control, and pests and diseases;
• Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals;
• Postharvest processing; and,
• Value-added products and marketing.
The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology.Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically.
The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.
Reviews and Praise
"The Carpenters, protégés of 'Fairy Godmother of Herbalism' Rosemary Gladstar (who is also Melanie's mother), generously share knowledge gained through their now shuttered business, Sage Mountain Herbal Products, and 15 years of medicinal herb farming in Vermont. The book begins with a nuts-and-bolts manual that includes 'thinking like a business manager,' farming 'for profit, not production,' facility design, fertility needs of medicinal plants, development of value-added products, and manageable ways to integrate polycultures and permaculture principals into a commercial farming operation. Next the authors profile 50 medicinal plants, including details of each plant's life cycle, growing conditions, planting and processing considerations, medicinal uses, yields, and even the current retail price per pound, giving prospective growers information essential to determining crop viability in their own specific circumstances. Most helpfully, the Carpenters share their decision-making processes for determining the optimal number of species to grow and weighing the financial viability of hand-harvesting versus borrowing to buy harvesting equipment.”
More Reviews and Praise
"As respect for the pharmaceutical industry has withered in recent years from media reports about ineffective or harmful prescription drugs, more and more health-care consumers are turning to alternative nostrums, such as medicinal herbs. For gardeners looking to cash in on this therapeutic trend, organic farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter offer this thorough, well-organized guide to growing and marketing both medicinal and culinary herbs, using their own Vermont farm as a model for optimal cultivation techniques. In 17 lucidly written, abundantly illustrated chapters, the Carpenters provide all the necessary basics for readers to jump-start their own operation, from facilities layout and tools of the trade to weed control and storage recommendations. They also share invaluable personal stories from their ups and downs in the business so others can avoid the more common pitfalls. Although the Carpenters’ handbook is aimed more at veteran farmers looking to boost their revenue with another high-demand product, amateur growers hoping to add herbs to their kitchen or medicine cabinet will find much useful information here, as well.”
"Organic herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter outline medicinal herb farming for both the new and the seasoned grower in their first book, a technical manual and business guide. With more than 20 years’ experience in the field and running Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont, the Carpenters explain successfully all aspects of the organic medicinal herb industry in one volume, something they note has been lacking in farming literature. The book is divided into two sections: the first details how to propagate, grow, harvest, and process medicinal herbs for market. It also explores the business side of farming, such as running an office, creating value-added products, and marketing those products. Part 2 contains 50 in-depth plant profiles of herbs grown on their farm. Beautiful photographs enhance the informational value of the book. An appendix contains a list of 'At Risk' and 'To Watch' plants that the thoughtful wild crafter and organic grower should take into consideration when foraging and planting medicinal herbs. VERDICT: Written for small-scale herb farmers, this book is also useful for the home gardener with an interest in medicinal herbs and organic gardening.”
"Bullseye! Jeff and Melanie Carpenter nail it in addressing the needs of today's medicinal herb grower. In a friendly, easy-to-read style, the information in The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is straight forward and comprehensive, benefitting beginning and experienced farmers alike.”--Richard Wiswall, author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook
"Seasoned and novice growers alike will find a mother lode of information and wisdom packed into this gem of a book! Anyone interested in growing or using medicinal herbs will reap the benefits of Jeff and Mel’s meticulous research and hard won expertise in the field and marketplace. These savvy business people are stellar models of earth stewards making a right livelihood on the land. Reading The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will greatly help you along the same path!”--Nancy Phillips, author of The Herbalist’s Way
"Drawing on their fifteen years of experience growing medicinal herbs commercially, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter have written the most comprehensive book available on growing, harvesting, drying, packaging, and selling medicinal herbs. Beginning farmers will find this book particularly useful with its detailed instructions on all aspects of herb farming including field site selection, cultural practices, tools, equipment, and business planning."--Jeanine Davis, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Dept. of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University
"I highly recommend The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer to all new and experienced growers of Western medicinal herbs. If you are an aspiring herb farmer – this is your book!”--Peg Schafer, author of The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm
"The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer rocks with practical insights for growing healing herbs and making a viable living. Locally grown medicine will be embraced by local food movements as more community herbalists get the word out. The ‘Health Care Marketplace’ we actually need today consists of more hard-working farm couples like Jeff & Mel Carpenter.”--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard
"Many of the medicinal herbs used in the herbal industry are still imported, even though we have ideal conditions as landowners and farmers to fulfill the growing demand. United Plant Savers’ motto, "conservation through cultivation," is a way in which we can take demand off of wild harvested native medicinals, and also stimulate regional sources for a dynamic and growing market. This book could not be more timely. We need domestic herb farmers not only to supply a growing demand for herbal medicine but also as a critical component to ensuring an abundant supply of American medicinal plants for generations to come.”--Susan Leopold, Executive Director, United Plant Savers
"With this beautiful and informative book, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter share the knowledge they have gathered as they have realized their vision over the last 15 years on their 10-acre farm in Vermont. The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer serves as a training manual to support U.S. domestic production of high-quality medicinal herbs. A dirt-smudged copy should be within easy reach of every home gardener or farmer who grows – or wants to grow – medicinal plants."--Michael McGuffin, President, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
“Jeff and Melanie Carpenter give me hope for the future of herb farming. In this book, they generously share very useful experience-based information and lessons learned, which will help young prospective herb farmers to avoid pitfalls and plan for an economically viable and appropriately scaled operation for sustainable production. Read this book before you start up!”--Josef Brinckmann, VP of Sustainability, Traditional Medicinals
"Finally, a book to recommend to the increasing number of organic farmers who are looking to grow medicinal herb crops. This inspiring handbook provides the quality and depth of information that only comes from years of first-hand experience. Having begun our own herb-growing and herbal product manufacture 35 years ago, I am completely impressed with the comprehensive breadth of topics and business wisdom that the Carpenters have so generously shared."--Sara Katz, Co-founder of Herb Pharm and Board President of United Plant Savers
About The Author
|Book Art:||Color photos throughout|
|Size:||8 x 10 inch|
|Publisher:||Chelsea Green Publishing|
|Pub. Date:||May 6, 2015|
Available In/Retail PricePaperback, 416 pages, $39.95
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