Question about herb cuttings.

simjen(z6, ky)April 30, 2005

Hi

This is my first post here and next Saturday will be my first time selling at the farmers market.

We will be selling some cut mint and basil and other herbs, Im just wonder how many sprigs do you all put in a bunch? Do you think it would be a waste of time to sell it this way? No one here sold many herbs in the past. I could do cuttings and pot them up and sell them in a few weeks, but Id rather just sell them as bunches.

Thanks for any help or advice on this.

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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

It's good to be the first one to sell a new item at the market. You might ask around and see what others have sold bunched herbs for in the past. Many times customers are attracted to something new and you may find that herbs attract a particular class of customers whom would buy other things.

I don't find it a waste of time and in fact consider the space used by the herb plants to be a profitable part of my whole sales effort. The herbs that I don't get sold are usually taken home and dried and packaged for further sales efforts.

I sell basil $1.00/bunch, with a bunch consisting of enough 1 foot long stems to cover a 12" span at the widest part of the "bouquet", and tie them in bunches with rubber bands. I pick the basil early morning(by flashlight) before leaving and pack them into a cooler without ice. Warning- direct contact of basil with ice will burn it.
Sales tip- Frequently wave the basil about while at market, so it will scent the air and draw in customers wondering "What is that heavenly smell?"

For thyme marjoram and sage I cut and bunch springs about 4-6" long, and rosemary about 8-10", with the bunches about 1" diameter at the band.

Parsley& cilantro bunches are about what you find at the grocery.

I will be adding mint this year but plan on selling it about like the rosemary, maybe a bit longer sprigs.

I price all my herbs at $1.00/bunch.

I've seen other markets that sell for prices considerably higher than mine, but I'm satisfied with what I get.

Don't neglect potential for sales at restaurants. Professional chefs are far more apt to be familiar with herb use, and I have set up enough regular deliveries to them alone to support growing the herbs. I usually will drop off free samples to various restaurants early in the season, giving away items which went unsold at market. Schedule conversations with chefs away from their peak cooking hours, otherwise they get too busy to take time.
Basil, especially, would be welcome at Italian restaurants as nothing dried matches fresh basil.

The link below is an attempt to let you see search results of this "market gardener" forum for the word herb. If it doesn't work, just look at the bottom of the market garden forum main page and select "search this forum", input the word herb, and you will find several threads speaking about prices, methods, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Market gardener forum search-keyword herb

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 9:32AM
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anniew(4-5/PA)

WOW! $1 a bunch? You are giving the stuff away...have you noticed the price in the supermarkets? Especially things like rosemary. You are very generous. Do you find that you are making any money, or just covering expenses?
I've sold basil bunches for $2 at a very rural (and poor) farmers market, but wouldn't think of selling some things for that little.
Of course, you are in a warmer zone, so it may not cost much for heat, if needed at all...Ann

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 5:20PM
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herbgal921(z6/KY)

WOW, I agree...you are giving the stuff away! I sell my cut Basil (leaves only) for $3 for a 2 ounces. I package it in plastic bags and it looks like the customer is getting much more than 2 ounces! I have no trouble selling out each week. :)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 11:05AM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

I sell Basil $2.00 a bunch ($10.00 lbs with stalk)
$1.00 a bag leaves only ($12.00 lbs)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 5:46PM
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barrie2m_

I'd forget about trying to set a concrete price on all herbs. Find out where you can make money and concentrate on the things that work. I also sell basil for $1 a bunch and I can make a profit doing that because basil is so easy to grow once the weather warms up. Plus the basil promotes sales of my tomatoes, my real money maker, and many other products. If you can develop a marketing stratagy that draws people without sacrificing too much time and money on your part, go for it.

But I would not even try to raise rosemary, thyme or some other herbs to cut and sell as bunches. I feel I would need to charge $4 a bunch to justify my time.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:33AM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

Simjen,

Cut a lot of mint for this coming weekend, it is Derby Day in KY (and elsewhere) and you will have lots of folks looking for mint for Juleps. You will also have some debating on what mint is best for Juleps (any will do they are called MINT juleps, not spearmint or peppermint juleps), this is the one weekend a year when mint sells really well.

I generally put 10 stems into a bunch than bind with a small rubber band.

Basil I bag and sell for $2 a bag (about 1.5 ounces)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 9:53AM
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LizMovingNorth(z5?)

Recipes! With 2oz of basil I'd be making pesto, but what do I do with a big bunch of mint when I only need 3 leaves for garnish? I need a tsp of dill and I buy a cup's worth, now what?

Give people reasons to use lots of herbs. Homemade mint jelly, rosemary twigs for shish-kabob skewers, maybe a pesto recipe, etc, etc.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 6:30PM
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