By Jerry Ford • SFA Network Coordinator
As we enter the final phase of the SFA Herb Project, we welcome Connie Karstens – a grower, marketer and practitioner with years of practical experience and training – as our Herb Specialist. Building on the previous work on this project, which included herb demonstration plots and field days, Connie, shown above at the 2017 SFA Annual Conference, will conduct workshops and classes on the cultivation, use and selling of a variety of medicinal and culinary herbs and spices.
The first of these events was a session at our Annual Conference on Feb. 11 in which Connie discussed unique approaches to growing and marketing herbs, including the income potential of adding them to a farm’s product selection. By learning about creative marketing strategies, value-added products and the education of their customers, attendees left with new ways to diversify their enterprises.
Next up is a field day and workshop on Sat., June 24, 2017, at The Lamb Shoppe, 61231 Hwy. 7 W, Hutchinson. During that event, Connie will conduct a tour of her herb plots and on-farm market.
The final programs for the Herb Project will be at Minnesota Garlic Festival on Aug. 12, 2017. Connie will lead a presentation for consumers and retailers on the benefits and uses of local herbs. In addition, there will be an exhibit area at the festival with everything you ever wanted to know about growing and using the wide array of herbs and spices available in Minnesota.
Connie is also “on call” for your questions on herb production and marketing.
The Herb Project is made possible by a Specialty Crops Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and through it SFA intends to increase the supply of locally produced herbs, improve the operational efficiency of MN herb production, reduce the barriers to bringing new products to market, and generally strengthen the MN herb industry.