In the SFA New Crops Herb Plot, we have a crop that many would consider a weed. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.) is a perennial plant which is quick to take advantage of bare soil and is often prolific in field borders and poorly managed pastures. There is a limited market for the essential oil of perennial wormwood. Commercial production is currently limited to Michigan, but the plant is well adapted to most of Minnesota and the upper midwest. Wormwood is also a key ingredient in Absinthe, a distilled, alcoholic beverage.
Absinthe is growing in popularity as a niche beverage, not unlike craft beers and other small volume distilled beverages. With all the emphasis lately on hops gaining popularity as a local food which contributes to locally brewed beers, wormwood holds some promise as a potential emerging market.
Please note we are not promoting Absinthe production and all laws and ordinances must be adhered to when considering this market. However, for producers looking to find a unique market, wormwood is a very easy to grow crop which could be just at the beginning of its rise.
Wormwood has other benefits and uses as well. The medicinal herb community promotes wormwood tea as a natural parasite cleanse. Wormwood tincture might also work as an external parasite control as well.
The purpose of the New Crops Project is to explore new crops which farmers can use to create alternative, diverse revenue streams which can add stability to farm revenue. You’ve probably seen wormwood, and even tried to get rid of it. If so, you might be glad to know it has some potential! You’ll be able to check out the wormwood as well as several other unique herb crops at the SFA Herb Field Day, Oct. 7, 2016, near Princeton, Minn.