The WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club

April 14, 2017 
by Margaret Bloomquist

Herb Club Spring 2017
A wonderful spring we’re having thus far! It’s been great sharing some of the less busy moments of early spring as we give time to observe our forests and fields and the joy of new growth. Thanks to all our herb club members you’ve made this spring the best yet. Here are a few shots from recent Herb Club gatherings, see you for Tool Care in May.
January brought us together to harvest Polygonum multiflorum (He shou wu) at the research station, would love a crew to black bean process it together
Chinese Medicinal Herb Harvest 


On Valentine’s Day Herb Club took a Tour of Value-Added Processing and Lab Facilities in the area and found ourselves at the AB Tech campus for Blue Ridge Food Ventures, the NC Bionetwork Laboratory, and the US Botanical Safety Laboratory ~ thanks to our hosts!


An amazing afternoon at Cedar Springs Farm in Asheville, NC, for field exploration and strategies for Managing Mixed Forest and Field Herb Operations ~ beautiful outdoor classroom, we hope to return to soon.


Please RSVP for our upcoming Proper Care of Tools Used in Forest Farming, bring your hand tools May 11th!
Demonstrate cleaning and care of hand tools used on the farm and in the garden. Sharpening tools as well as tool safety will be included in the lecture. Participants are welcome to bring a couple tools to sharpen on their own once the demonstrations have taken place. Please note that we will only be focusing on non-powered hand tools. Participation will be limited to 25, so please register early. Contact Meghan Baker with the Buncombe Cooperative Extension office to register: meghan_baker@ncsu.edu

Happy Spring!
~Margaret and your WNC Medicinal Herb Club Captains


 Welcome 2017


2017 PLANNED ACTIVITIES (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
The WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club is a very engaged group of people interested in learning all there is to know about growing, processing, and selling medicinal herbs in western North Carolina. The leaders are Meghan Baker, small farms extension agent in Buncombe County; Margaret Bloomquist, research assistant in the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program with NC State University in Mills River; Craig Mauney, area specialized agent for commercial fruits and vegetables in Mills River; and Bart Renner, extension director in Transylania County.
The WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club is offering several fun and educational workshops this YEAR. All events are free and open to the public, and in some cases carpooling is available. Please RSVP or send questions to Meghan Baker at meghan_baker@ncsu.edu.

1) Chinese Medicinal Herb Harvest
Date: Tuesday, January 24
Time: 10am-3pm
Location: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC
Join us as we harvest, wash, chop and prepare select Chinese Medicinal Herbs from the NC State University research plots, including He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum). Dress for field conditions, and gain hands-on experience with harvest and post-harvest handling protocols. We'll meet at 10 m sharp at the lower parking lot of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center and then caravan to the field. Please bring water and a bagged lunch.

2) Tour of Value-Added Processing and Lab Facilities
Date: Tuesday, February 14
Time: 10am-1pm
Location: Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, Enka Campus, Candler, NC
There are many resources in the Asheville area for medicinal herb growers-we'll tour facilities on the Enka Campus of AB Tech including Blue Ridge Food Ventures, the Bionetwork Natural Products Laboratory, and the US Botanical Safety Laboratory. Limited space available-register early!

3) Managing Mixed Forest and Field Herb Operations
Date: Tuesday, March 28
Time: 1pm-4pm
Location: Cedar Springs Farm, Asheville, NC
The planning involved for managing both field and forest herbs is a key component for timely harvesting and successful sales. We'll visit a mized-used farm and discuss the tools, equipment, labor demands, successive plantings, and investment involved in operating a diverse medicinal herb growing business. Participants will also collectively work through an assessment of five mixed fild and forest crops and how to plan for financial demands and utilize enterprise budgets.

4) Plant Taxonomy for Herb Growers
Date: Tuesday, April 11
Time: 1pm-4pm
Location: Pangaea Plants LLC, Lake Lure, NC
In this field-based workshop we'll highlight basic plant identification techniques, the importance of correct identification for medicinal herb sales and usage, and practice identifying a wide range of medicinal herbs on a commercial herb farm. Carpooling options will be available, leaving Asheville at 12pm.

We look forward to learning and growing with you in 2017!
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January 1, 2017
More information will be posted soon, but wanted to get out a "save the date" notice!

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July 1, 2016
I wanted to make you aware of three upcoming events by the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club.


1) Dryer Considerations and Post-Harvest Handling 
July 27, 2016
We will travel to Rutherford County to Pangea Plants in Lake Lure for this on-farm event to view, discuss, and have some hands-on time with a newly built medicinal herb dryer. RSVP required. Carpooling encouraged. RSVP to meghan_baker@ncsu.edu.

2) Resources Available to WNC Herb Growers
August 7, 2016
Learn about the people, programs, facilities, literature, videos, and groups in or region that can help you in your herb growing and marketing efforts. RSVP to meghan_baker@ncsu.edu.

3) Harvest and Post-Harvest Handling On-Farm
September 21, 2016
Our final seasonal event of the year will cover hands-on demonstrations and tour of facilities on the same farm we helped with field management in June. Come see the full cycle of this farm from field to product. Gentle Harmony Farm, Lexington, NC. RSVP is required. Carpooling encouraged. RSVP to meghan_baker@ncsu.edu.

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