One of the goals of the conference is to have many herbs on display for educational as well as aesthetical purposes. There will be displays of dry herbs, fresh roots and fresh herbs in vases. Growers are encouraged to bring samples to display. Herb nurseries are invited to bring plants to sell (this is part of the Trade Show - Folks selling should fill out a Trade Show application).
If you plan on bringing things to add to the displays it helps us if you would email a list to herb [email protected]
FRESH FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE ON DISPLAY
Just before you leave, cut some stalks/foliage/flower stems and wrap them in a wet towel for transport. When you get here we can transfer them to vases and buckets for display. Not a lot of things are flowering in mid-April but lots of things have already made some top growth.
FRESH ROOTS ON DISPLAY
Dig a few roots for the display before you leave. Duplicates are fine as it will be interesting to see the differences and similarities of roots of the same species grown at different sites. We can mark each root with info on the grower, location and age of the root. For instance I will be bringing some wild-grown, 14-year old, black cohosh roots from Northport, Washington. We are putting up a 55-foot diameter tarp structure (called a Skylodge) to house the fresh root display and probably the tea area.
DRY BOTANICALS ON DISPLAY
Bring samples of dried leaf, root, flowers, aerial plant, etc for display. Mark each bag with the common name, Latin name and the grower’s name. These can be on display during the conference and picked up at the end of the conference. Of course anyone in the Trade Show can display and sell at their own tables.
NURSERY STOCK AND PLANT DIVISIONS ON DISPLAY (AND FOR SALE)
As of February 6, I know of three people bringing nursery stock to sell. Tina Glaessner of Crimson Sage Nursery, Angela LeVan of Alquimia Botanicals and Michael Pilarski of Friends of the Trees Botanicals. WHO ELSE WOULD LIKE TO BRING NURSERY STOCK TO SELL, TRADE OR GIVE-AWAY? We’d like to see a vibrant marketplace for nursery stock. This part of the Herbal Trade Show will be set up outside the USO Hall. In the event of rainy weather, nursery stock sellers might consider bringing their own canopy. Folks selling should fill out a Trade Show application.
One of the incomes from my farm is a spring sale of propagation material: freshly-dug rhizomes, stolons, crown divisions, volunteers, and occasionally some potted seedlings. Let’s look at one species as an example. Sweet Flag, Acorus calamus. About 15 years ago I noticed that James Jungwirth of Naturespirit Herbs advertised Acorus calamus. I asked if he would sell me 5 # of fresh, unwashed root. I planted them, they grew well and I have been growing and dividing them ever since. It is a marsh plant and normally grows in water, but it grows great for me in my fields. I do have to irrigate it, but not more so then my usual crops. I sell some of the root to the medicine makers and I sell the plant divisions in my spring propagation sale. Over the years I reckon I have sold rhizomes to over a hundred people to plant in their own gardens. Tina said she wants some if I bring any to the herb conference.
Now we wouldn’t want too many growers relying on this narrow piece of sweetflag germplasm. Someone(s) needs to obtain propagation material from a wide range of sources and grow them all together in one place to let lots of crossing happen, so that we have strains of genetically-diverse, adaptable plants. Acorus calamus is found across northern North America and Eurasia. It is used in Ayurvedic, TCM and by indigenous people in its range. There is also merit in keeping the thousands of local strains going in their own areas.
One of the conference presenters was telling me the other day about the herbal markets in China. Using medicinal plants for food and medicine is really big for the populace of China. They have whole market plazas full of farmers with baskets piled high of freshly harvested roots, leaves, and plant parts with the crowds of customers weaving their way among the farmers to compare sizes, quality and negotiate prices. Wouldn’t it be nice to see something like that at the 2017 Medicinal Herb Growing & Marketing Conference. For 2016 let’s stick with displays unless you have the proper credentials.