How to Start a Home Herb Business

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Selling herbs can be a fun and rewarding business.
Selling herbs can be a fun and rewarding business. (Image: six kinds of aromatic herbs for cooking image by angelo.gi from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

A home-based herb business can be a great way to earn extra money or create a full-time enterprise. If you have an area in which to grow herbs and some horticulture know-how, you have the ability to become a professional herb grower. Like any enterprise, though, you need to know some basics about how to run the business, how to market it, and how to turn it into an ongoing success.

Educate yourself. Even if you have grown herbs for your own kitchen, growing them in large quantities is another matter. Read up on various techniques for growing herbs successfully. Consider taking a class through the extension department at your local university, where master gardeners can teach you the finer points of growing herbs for yourself and customers.

Identify your customer base. Will you sell primarily to restaurants, or to individuals who want fresh herbs for their kitchen? If you have adequate land, selling for restaurant use is probably the best way to earn money. But you can also do well selling to individuals if you market yourself effectively and sell enough quantity to make it worth the effort. If you don’t have the land, but want to sell to restaurants, consider renting a plot. Rental plots are often available in large cities and smaller communities. Just make sure you are allowed to sell what you grow there.

Design creative packaging. If you're selling fresh herbs, consider having a label design made that you can attach to cellophane bags. Include your company name, address, phone number, email address and website address, if applicable. If you sell dried herbs, find a supplier of tins or jars and design creative labels for those.

Find your market. If you want to sell directly to customers, sign up for a booth at a local farmers markets or food show. Create a website to market your product. A website is also a good place to provide recipes and cooking tips.

Consider offering weekly delivery of herbs within a specific area. You might also want to offer coupons or frequent buyer discounts. If you market to restaurants, bring free samples of your herbs and let the chefs there cook with them a few times. This can help cooks gauge the quality of your herbs. Offer to deliver the herbs to the restaurant as needed.

Consider expanding your market. You can use dried herbs for bath products. Or you can combine the dried herbs in a single package for use on meats and produce.

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