Herb growers step up their operations

08/01/2011 10:03:00 AM
Dan Gailbraith

“I was worried that some Americans wouldn’t want to be kitchen gardeners,” Henning said. “But it hasn’t turned out that way, and the broader portfolio allows us to reach more retailers. I see the light go on in retailers’ eyes when they see the culinary possibilities and the differences between the living herbs (in the produce aisle) and potted herbs.”

Dault said Sweetwater’s living herb line also is growing in popularity, particularly its basil.

The living herbs give growers a reliable customer base because, as consumers pinch off leaves in their kitchens, they are virtually guaranteeing the next sale — unlike dried and processed herbs in jars, the living herbs must be replaced much more frequently.

Consumers also have responded positively to smaller packages in the fresh herb category.

Henning says quarter-ounce clamshells, rather than the traditional 3/4-ounce size, encourage consumers to buy several types of fresh herbs at once because they know they will be able to use up the herbs before their expiration dates.


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