Basil Market Opportunitys

got_plantAugust 19, 2004


For my assignment i have to find the Basil Market Opporutnity and the requirements for that market, also how the grower manipulates his production practises to acheive these requirements.

Im doing the fresh market, so if any growers want to share there advice with me, it would be greatley appreciated.



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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

I have planted this year about thirty basil plants. Most were "large leaf", but I tried some 'lettuce leaf', which did make leaves about 50% larger. Normally I can sell between 5-10 bunches/week, most to retail customers at the market, and to one restaurant I deliver to, along with other herbs. I allow the plants to grow about 12-18", and just at flower bud formation, I cut back the entire plant to about 4-6" high. I sell a 'bunch' which is about 12" in diameter, and usually one plant makes 1-2 bunches.

I see some people selling leaves or top-clippings of the uppermost 3-4 inches, but have found that a hard cutting back stimulates quick regrowth of healthier leaves, and a large bouquet-like form which is attractive to the customer and sells well for me. Some of my customers promptly de-stem a portion for pesto-making, dry some out for later, and the rest they are able to maintain fresh for 2 weeks in a vase as you would cut flowers. Do not refrigerate basil, it tends to be damaged by cold and gets brown.

I have sold larger quantities in the past for $6/lb, and have heard of prices up to $18(CDN)/lb for winter greenhouse grown basil.

I have had some succcess in the past selling the different scented basils- Holy basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, etc., but not recently. There coud be a market for prepared pesto sauce. For my own use I package it in the smallest 2x2" ziplock bags and freeze them. They thaw in 10 seconds in a microwave.

Hope this helps, I'd like to hear what others do, and read your paper. When you complete it, please return to post it!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 11:40PM
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adrianag(AL z7)

I'm a commercial basil grower selling 80-110# of basil a week. E-mail me at and I'll hel p you out.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 11:28AM
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adrianag(AL z7)

Jay how do you get the pesto into those tiny bags?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 3:22PM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

I use a table spoon, but understand your question because you must be careful to keep things neat and the oily pesto can make a mess. If I were to do more, a pastry bag or similar squirter would be good.

if you want to go big-time, consider heat sealed bags.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 7:40AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

Jay and Adriana

I always found that the easiest way to freeze pesto was to drop it into ice cube trays, allow it to freeze, and then pop out the cubes and place into a plastic bag for further storage.

My two cents :)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 4:16PM
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adrianag(AL z7)

I'm still looking for a good way to keep pesto from going black . Coering the surface with oil helps a little bit until you disturb it. I have tried citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and lemon juice, with no luck.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 7:45AM
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Anyone up to date on Texas licenses for selling herbs and tomatoes, I would appreciate your experiences. thanks bill

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 6:07AM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

Billtex, I sent an email to the Texas Department of Agriculture to try and clarify that same thing. See my post in the Vegetable Growers Handbook thread. Fees sound a little high to me. I hope I'm misunderstanding the fee structure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Licence fees Texas

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 5:09PM
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mbravebird(VA zone 7)

You can help keep pesto looking green by adding a few tablespoons of parsley to the recipe. It won't affect the taste, but it will add a permanent green tinge, which sort of covers up the browning basil. It works for me on a small scale -- I can't see why it would be any different in larger batches.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 10:36PM
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Snappybob tks. their site is confusing, to me. tks. billtex

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 8:12AM
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