- Harvest time for a culinary herb is best determined by the growing condition of the herb, rather than the specific date or month, according to a Michigan State University Extension 1996 leaflet. Most herbs are ready to be harvested just as the first flower buds appear. The leaves contain the maximum amount of volatile oils at this stage of growth, giving the greatest flavor and fragrance to the finished product. Source: http://www.msue.msu.edu/msue/imp/mod03/03900063.html
- The key constituents of St. John's Wort are most concentrated in the buds, flowers and distal leaves, according to the Agriculture and Agri Food Canada Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre. Flowering tips can be harvested once a minimum of four flowers are opened, at a stem length of 20 centimeters. Harvest can be repeated three to four times at three- to five-day intervals. Source:http://res.agr.ca/lond/pmrc/study/newcrops/stjohnswort.html
- For small-scale entrepreneurs, the best chance of competing in the herb market may be in plant sales, according to a USDA Small Scale Agriculture Alternative fact sheet. With interest in gardening at an all time high, gardeners are searching for a variety of herbs for cooking, landscaping, and alternative health needs. Prospective herb producers might consider starting a mail order business to supply backyard gardeners with plants. An article in the March 1999 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine noted that in a 1997 U.S. study of patients with mild to moderate dementia, those who ingested Ginkgo Biloba supplements scored slightly higher on tests of mental performance and social behavior than those who took a placebo. The article cautions that Ginkgo Biloba, used by many to boost mental prowess, should not be taken by people on blood thinners or those hypersensitive to poison ivy, cashews, or mangoes.
- Functional foods, (nutraceuticals, phytochemicals, or designer foods), are among the fastest growing trends in the food industry and could have significant positive impact on vegetable sales. Nutraceuticals are considered to be any food or part of a food that may provide medical or health benefits, including prevention or treatment of disease, according to Tom MacCubbin, Cooperative Extension, University of Florida. Functional foods could play a role in the prevention and treatment of at least four of the leading causes of death in the United States, namely cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. MacCubbin suggests that the vegetable industry might take advantage of this trend in designing future marketing strategies to stimulate the consumption of vegetables.