Moving from being a keen amateur grower to one who makes a profit from their hobby can be a bit nerve wracking. I hope to give you some finer direction here on how you can make a profit selling herbs.
To sell herbs for a profit we can look at three main categories. Selling fresh herbs as plants for keen kitchen gardener’s. Selling dried herbs and flowers for those wishing to use in culinary and spa type projects. Then we can also look at selling our own products and homemade treatments.
There is a lot to consider here and you can start to think where your skills and interest lie. If you are looking for a hobby that will pay for itself and not make a profit as such then I think we can show you some exciting opportunities, or if you are looking for business ideas you can get a little bit of inspiration here too.
Fresh Herbs To Sell For Profit
First of all you need to know your market and complete some form of research, be that talking to stall holders, local farmers markets shoppers or on social media.
Now let’s look at the herbs and methods that have worked for us and colleagues.
Herbs that sell best in the UK; Coriander, Basil, Mint and Parsley. It is important to remember that the coriander we are talking about is a different variety then the one we grow for seeds, also known as cilantro.
Herbs that sell best in Northern America: Cilantro, Basil, Oregano And Mustard. This may have differences across States and have faith in your own market research here. Even visiting your local farmer’s market and having conversations, walking into a supermarket and seeing what is selling as a fresh herb. It will all help inform your decision on what to try first.
Fresh Herbs That Sell Well; Rosemary, Sage & Marjoram. What is good about all of these herbs is that they can be grown to scale with relative ease. Selling in 9cm pots can be profitable as you will have a relatively fast turnaround on growth, fastest will be your soft leaf plants, then followed by your evergreen perennials.
Look for where to sell and how to keep your fresh herbs alive. A long shelf life will be important when you first set out in business. Once you find your niche then you will find a faster turnaround on sales.
Farmer’s Markets, Car boot sales and honesty boxes at the end of your lane are all low cost places to try and sell your fresh herbs. Profits will be small to begin with so the smaller the outlay the better. Talk with a local farm shop about getting a space to sell and you will be able to work out a percentage of profit and sign a contract.
Once you establish a place for yourself in the market you can try more unusual herbs. Even different varieties of your most popular herbs will sell very well. This is because the supermarkets cannot compete, a black leafed basil will be eye catching and may work very well.
Dried Herbs To Sell For Profit
A little bit of processing and you can grow and dry herbs for sale. This can be a profitable market and again it is about finding an avenue to make sales through.
- Dried herbs such as rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lavender, parsley, basil, and curry leaves will sell well individually.
- Making up herb and spice mixes can be easy for profit and gaining traction with new mixes can work too. We have a few popular recipes here, but you can make them your own by mixing the ratios.
- Think even further with regards to how you process your herbs. Smoked paprika is an easy blend to make yourself and will add a selling point that will increase your profit. Or smoked garlic, however this is not a dried herbs as such and will have a shorter shelf life.
- Think about spices, one popular spice worldwide is turmeric and this can be easy to grow. Growing it organically can add value as well. Generally you will need acres of space to grow any real commercial quantities of other spices.
- Dried lavender for spa treatments is a great one to sell for profit. Think bigger as the market for culinary lavender has really opened up in the last few years. Here is a fantastic article explaining which varieties you will need to grow for culinary to avoid that soapy taste.
- Dried flowers for herbal teas and herbal tea blends pre-made for certain health or taste benefits. Chamomile is a very popular herbal tea worldwide. As is mint and ginger.
- Dried herbs for floral bouquets. This is not the same as when you make up the bunches yourself, but instead dry in bunches as kits for people to make up their own wreaths, bouquets and posies.
How To Sell Herbal Products & Treatments For Profit
This is time intensive but can massively increase your profit margins. If you enjoy crafts and turning your hobbies into an income this may be the right way. Here are some of the ways we process our herbs and you can make a profit from too.
- Herb spirits like basil vodka will make great gifts and are therefore a great way to make a profit. Flavored gins seem to be within the zeitgeist so go for lavender, hyssop, rosemary, basil, or lemongrass as flavor carriers.
- Herb wreaths with fresh or dried herbs will sell well at different times of years. Go for seasonal wreaths here and include floral herbs like cotton lavender or echinacea.
- Work with a local butcher to sell meat herb rubs in jars or as seasoned meats.
- Make up old fashioned sweets like candied ginger to sell in your local farm shop. The longer the shelf life the better. They also make very good free hand outs to tempt shoppers.
- Make chutney’s , pickles and even pickled mustard seeds to tempt buyers. Real profit comes from growing as many ingredients yourself, but when it comes to artisan foods there is a lot of money to be made. Meaning purchased ingredients can be a way of finding your market in early days.
- Homemade spa treatments can be a great way to make money. Putting themes together in groups works well as gift sets. For example; relaxing sleep kit, English Country garden, hand care set etc.
- Herbal treatments are gaining popularity once again. It is key to fully understand your herbal ingredients and perhaps taking a specific course would help you in your endeavor.
- Essential Oils this can work when you produce herbs in vast quantities, however buying essential oils and making up massage oils from carriers can work to make a profit.
- Herbal tea sold as loose tea or as tea bags that you make up. Make sure to pair them well and work in flavors and ingredients that will make a decent cuppa.
GET MOTIVATED – Make as many different varieties as possible and trial on friends and family. As birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, thanks for being a friend gifts! Just get trialing and ask for honest feedback. Then offer free samples to owners of outlets that you may want to sell through. Look at their own branding and see how you can fit in without copying.
What Next & Further Reading
- Drying Times & Tips For Herbs – Dehydrator essential for those looking to produce dried herbs on a commercial scale. Start with a basic model and don’t waste too much on initial outlay. Then you can move on to a larger scale dryer.
- soilassociation.org have all you need on registering as organic. This can be a real selling point and add profit to your products, but again know your audience. If you are selling in a market where terms like organic are meaningless, then it can be an unnecessary time constraint.