“Eventually, all of the standard culinary herbs will be sold organically certified,” says Andy Whelan with Freeman Herbs. “Consumers increasingly pay attention to health benefits and they like having the insurance that no harmful sprays were used on the product they cook with.”
Grocery stores versus garden centers
Freeman Herbs are sold through two channels: grocery stores and garden centers. “About 90 percent of the herbs that we sell through grocery stores are organically certified,” mentioned Whelan. ”For home gardeners, the trend towards organic herbs is coming up, but they haven’t been able to adopt as quickly as organic soil and feed were not prevalent until a few years ago. Now that these products are more widely available in organic format, we notice sales of organic herbs for home gardeners going up.”
“In the past, herb consumption used to be strongest during spring and summer,” Whelan shared. That has shifted to year-round availability as consumers ask for herbs throughout the year. Basil is the most popular culinary herb and makes up between 60 and 75 percent of overall herb sales. It was the first herb variety on the market and the one that the consumer knows best. Other popular herb varieties are rosemary, mint, cilantro, dill, arugula, parsley (curled and Italian), sage and thyme. All the company’s herbs are sold as potted live plants.
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