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The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, Revised Edition : How to Produce High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale - Jeff Carpenter

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, Revised Edition

How to Produce High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale

By: Jeff Carpenter, Melanie Carpenter (As told to), Rosemary Gladstar (Foreword by)

Paperback | 7 September 2023

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'Seasoned and novice growers alike will find a mother lode of information and wisdom packed into this gem of a book!' Nancy Phillips, author of The Herbalist's Way

*Updated with new information about herb dryers and construction, soil fertility, growing cannabis, and more

In the first edition of The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, authors Jeff and Melanie Carpenter presented a comprehensive seed-to-bottle guide for aspiring and experienced growers alike, from basic business considerations to planting and propagation to creating value-added products. Now they're back with a revised and updated edition, sharing the lessons they've learned throughout their twenty-five years of operating a medicinal herb farm that prizes quality over quantity.

The Carpenters offer their insights and tips on every aspect of herb farming, including:

  • Size and scale considerations
  • Data management for profit maximization
  • The herbal marketplace and choosing which herbs to grow
  • Field and bed preparation and planting, including building soil fertility
  • Plant-positive weed, pest, and disease control
  • Harvest and post-harvest processing, including scalable dryer construction
  • Value-added products and marketing
  • A new chapter on growing cannabis
  • And much more!

The Carpenters make the case that growing organic medicinal herbs is not only viable and profitable, but also an important step for improving the ecological health of farmland, taking pressure off of wild medicinal plant populations, and increasing biodiversity. While local foodways are more often the focus of attention, local medicine ways are equally critical and in need of restoration.

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is a one-of-a-kind resource, complete with detailed profiles of 50 medicinal herbs and over 200 colour photographs. Whether you're looking to grow an herb farm from the ground up, incorporate medicinal plants on an existing farm, or add tools to your belt as a seasoned grower, you'll find the information you need in this volume.

'[A] beautiful and informative book . . . A dirt-smudged copy should be within easy reach of every home gardener or farmer who grows-or wants to grow-medicinal plants.' Michael McGuffin, President, American Herbal Products Association

Industry Reviews

"This new edition of The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is a must-have for anyone interested in herb cultivation. The knowledge Jeff and Melanie share is incredibly important for the future of the botanical industry as production in the U.S. continues to grow. They detail each step along the way, from choosing the right botanicals to grow on your land to post-harvest processing. I really appreciate the applied intention and the thoughtfulness involved in growing herbs that Jeff and Melanie transmit. This is a resource that aspiring and experienced botanical farmers alike should keep on hand."-Nate Brennan, purchasing and sales manager, Pacific Botanicals


"Rooted in years of direct experience and a deep love and respect for the healing plants, this book is packed full of practical, on-the-ground herbal farming information. It is an essential guide for young and experienced farmers alike who are interested in growing or integrating medicinal herbs into their farm. We need more caring, respectful, and knowledgeable medicinal herb farmers like Jeff and Melanie."-Deb Soule, herbalist and biodynamic gardener; founder of Avena Botanicals


"The revised edition of The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer goes beyond a traditional herb farming manual, serving as a guide for cultivating not only herbs but also a sense of community and self-sufficiency. Jeff's emphasis on sustainable practices, ethical harvesting, and mindful consumption inspires readers to embrace a harmonious relationship with the environment and rediscover the profound healing potential of herbs. Whether you're a novice herb enthusiast or an experienced farmer looking to deepen your knowledge, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is an invaluable resource that will awaken your senses, nourish your soul, and guide you on an enriching journey toward organic herb farming success."-Cee Stanley, CEO of Green Heffa Farms


"I could almost smell the herbs and feel the soil when I picked up and opened this book. It is full of practical and helpful information, pictures, and guidance for any farmer who wants to know and grow medicinal herbs organically. All of the new information is great, especially the section on constructing and performing herb drying. Too often I have seen farmers grow a good crop but lessen its value with improper post-harvest handling techniques, especially drying incorrectly. Thanks Melanie and Jeff for taking the time to put down in black and white what farmers need to know to be successful.

The first edition on my shelf is a bit worn and torn, so this revised edition gives me and readers even more reason to dig in deeper to learn what it takes to supply top-quality medicinal herbs in today's market."-Edward J Fletcher, Owner/Operator Native Botanicals, Inc.


"The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is an invaluable resource for anyone growing medicinal plants on a small, medium, and large-scale. In addition to details about everything from writing a vision statement to developing a business plan and managing weeds, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter share the reasons behind the decisions they have made, the lessons learned from good and bad decisions, and their advice based on what they have learned.

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is also essential reading for anyone using herbal products to understand what it takes to cultivate and process high quality herbs so that the products made with these herbs are truly the ecological medicine-better for the plants, for people, and the planet-that they are promised to be. The Carpenters demonstrate how the vision of wholeness and healing that is at the heart of herbal medicine guides all the decisions, large and small, that they make on their farm. I can't recommend this book highly enough."-Ann Armbrecht, PhD; author, The Business of Botanicals; director, Sustainable Herbs Program


"Jeff and Melanie Carpenter give me hope for the future of herb farming. In this book, they generously share very useful experience-based information and lessons learned, which will help young prospective herb farmers to avoid pitfalls and plan for an economically viable and appropriately scaled operation for sustainable production. Read this book before you start up!"-Josef Brinckmann, vice president of sustainability, Traditional Medicinals


"Finally, a book to recommend to the increasing number of organic farmers who are looking to grow medicinal herb crops. This inspiring handbook provides the quality and depth of information that only comes from years of first-hand experience. Having begun our own herb-growing and herbal-product manufacture thirty-five years ago, I am completely impressed with the comprehensive breadth of topics and business wisdom that the Carpenters have so generously shared."-Sara Katz, cofounder, Herb Pharm, and board president, United Plant Savers


"Bullseye! Jeff and Melanie Carpenter nail it in addressing the needs of today's medicinal herb grower. In a friendly, easy-to-read style, the information in The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer is straightforward and comprehensive, benefitting beginning and experienced farmers alike."-Richard Wiswall, author, The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook


"With this beautiful and informative book, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter share the knowledge they have gathered as they have realized their vision over the last fifteen years on their 10-acre farm in Vermont. The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer serves as a training manual to support US domestic production of high-quality medicinal herbs. A dirt-smudged copy should be within easy reach of every home gardener or farmer who grows-or wants to grow-medicinal plants."-Michael McGuffin, president, American Herbal Products Association


"Many of the medicinal herbs used in the herbal industry are still imported, even though we have ideal conditions as landowners and farmers to fulfil the growing demand. United Plant Savers' motto, 'conservation through cultivation,' is a way in which we can take demand off of wild-harvested native medicinals and also stimulate regional sources for a dynamic and growing market. This book could not be more timely. We need domestic herb farmers not only to supply a growing demand for herbal medicine but also as a critical component to ensuring an abundant supply of American medicinal plants for generations to come."-Susan Leopold, executive director, United Plant Savers


"The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer rocks with practical insights for growing healing herbs and making a viable living. Locally grown medicine will be embraced by local food movements as more community herbalists get the word out. The 'Health Care Marketplace' we actually need today consists of more hard-working farm couples like Jeff and Mel Carpenter."-Michael Phillips, author, The Holistic Orchard


"I highly recommend The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer to all new and experienced growers of Western medicinal herbs. If you are an aspiring herb farmer, this is your book!"-Peg Schafer, author, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm


"Drawing on their fifteen years of experience growing medicinal herbs commercially, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter have written the most comprehensive book available on growing, harvesting, drying, packaging, and selling medicinal herbs. Beginning farmers will find this book particularly useful with its detailed instructions on all aspects of herb farming, including field-site selection, cultural practices, tools, equipment, and business planning."-Jeanine Davis, PhD, associate professor and extension specialist, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University


"Seasoned and novice growers alike will find a mother lode of information and wisdom packed into this gem of a book! Anyone interested in growing or using medicinal herbs will reap the benefits of Jeff and Mel's meticulous research and hard-won expertise in the field and marketplace. These savvy business people are stellar models of earth stewards making a right livelihood on the land. Reading The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will greatly help you along the same path!"-Nancy Phillips, author, The Herbalist's Way


"This book is a treasure trove of information for anyone passionate about growing and harvesting herbs for peak yield and potency. . . [providing] encouragement and hope for a future where diversified farms and gardens around the country produce medicine for their communities."-Journal of the American Herbalists Guild

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