Farming with Herbs

How to Farm with Herbs

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your herb farm. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant. How to Farm with Herbs – Farming for Success

Plan your Herb Business – Herbs – Farming for Success

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How much can you charge customers?
  • What will you name your business?
Herbs - Farming for Success
Farming with Herbs

We have done the research for you so that you can start farming with herbs

What are the costs involved in opening an herb farm?

Another great reason to start an herb farm as a new business is that there is such a low economic barrier. Some herb farmers purchase a large plot of land and build greenhouses to extend their growing season, but it is not necessary. A low startup cost is all it takes to buy the tools and seeds to start small an herb farm. But for those who want to earn a full-time income from herb farming, the startup expenses are a little higher.

Potential herb farmers who already own a piece of land can avoid the biggest expense, land. For those who do not have a place to plant, it is almost always cheaper to rent than to purchase land. Many commercial landowners have vacant land and may rent it for a very low price. Herb farmers who are interested in having their products certified organic need to be a little more choosy when finding a place to plant.

After finding land, the next largest expense is purchasing supplies. Thankfully, very little in the way of equipment is necessary to grow herbs on a small scale successfully. A few hand tools, containers and perhaps a greenhouse or poly tunnel to extend the growing season. Herb farmers who do not have access to quality soil on their land, should invest in high-end potting soil, compost and fertilizer.

Herbs - Farming for Success 
Purple Basil
Pineapple Sage
Vietnamese Mint

Buying all the seeds and cuttings for an entire growing season is not that expensive. Heirloom seeds often cost less than popular hybrid varieties, but they can take more time and care to grow. However, many people swear by the superior quality and taste of heirloom herbs and vegetables.

It is possible to start a profitable small-scale herb farm which doesn’t require purchasing or renting land.

Most Popular Herbs to Farm with in SA

  • Basil.
  • Chives.
  • Coriander
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

What are the ongoing expenses for an herb farm?

Ongoing expenses are all the consumables like seeds, fertilizer, potting soil, containers, compost, and utilities. Herb farms need to pay the cost for the land and labor every month, in addition to any packaging and transportation costs that may be involved.

Who is the target market?

There are three types of customers for herbs: restaurants, retailers, and consumers. Selling directly to consumers is the most profitable, but also provides the least steady income. Retailers typically offer the lowest per pound price, but are often willing to buy out an entire harvest. Restaurants usually offer a better price than a retailer, but less than a consumer.

How does an herb farm make money?

Herb farms make money by selling culinary herbs to wholesalers, restaurants, and consumers.

How much can you charge customers?

The prices consumers are willing to pay depend on the location and the type of herb. Certain herbs do typically bring in more profit than others, such as basil, catnip, lavender, chives, and cilantro.

How much profit can an herb farm make?

It is well within the reach of a herb farmer to earn over R150 000 per hectare of land each year by choosing high-priced and popular herbs.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Owners of herb farms can greatly improve their profits by creating value-added products from their herbs. Dried herb pillows, herbal teas, soaps, and candles are all high profit items which are easy to make and sell well. Herb farms who are able to get certified as organic can charge more for every product they sell.

Some herb farms make extra money by hosting events such as weddings or vacations. However, this type of side business would require that your land be suitable as an event venue, and you would also need to have a small team to handle bookings, set-up, and other aspects of hosting parties.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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How to Farm with Herbs

One Reply to “How to Farm with Herbs”

  1. Thank you so much for your article regarding herb farming.

    Where do l find a retailer or wholesaler tobuy my rosemary, thyme and mint herbs?

    I farm in Edenburg, FreeState.

    I want to start my herb farm on 0,7 -1 hectacre.

    Can you please advise me.
    Or poiint me in the right direction.
    Thank you

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