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Would Ferns Be Profitable?

 
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast
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Lost my job and am trying to find ways to make extra income.  A thought I have is to sell ferns which grow in big swaths naturally on our property.  I am a personal fan of ferns, but do not know if everyone loves them as much as I do.  
A few things I need to know:
How to properly identify the species I have access to.
How to harvest for sale, but not to completely wipe out the natural growth in the woods.
Anyone sell and ship online, or should I just sell locally?
How to package to ship if I do sell online?
Sources for containers?
Any other advice is appreciated.
 
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If you're up for cultivation of ferns, many wholesale nurseries purchase plugs grown in 72 cell flats.  You could construct a few benches, propagate and grow in flats and sell to a single customer if your price is right.  If the environment is already conducive to ferns, perhaps a little infrastructure and some investment down the road could be a viable business model?  Good luck!
 
pollinator
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Hi Vicki, and welcome to Permies!  I don't know much about ferns but I do know that they sell the fiddleheads in the grocery stores here at about this time.  I think they sell for a good price but I usually just go to the woods and cut them myself.  I don't know what species are good for eating, or if they're all edible, but it's a way to make money from them without digging them out.

I don't even know if they'll continue to grow once cut, so I always spread my cuttings out, though there's usually lots wherever I get them.  I like to fry them up in butter with garlic and mushrooms.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Timothy Markus wrote:Hi Vicki, and welcome to Permies!  I don't know much about ferns but I do know that they sell the fiddleheads in the grocery stores here at about this time.  I think they sell for a good price but I usually just go to the woods and cut them myself.  I don't know what species are good for eating, or if they're all edible, but it's a way to make money from them without digging them out.

I don't even know if they'll continue to grow once cut, so I always spread my cuttings out, though there's usually lots wherever I get them.  I like to fry them up in butter with garlic and mushrooms.



Typically Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern) if I'm not mistaken.  
 
pioneer
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Not about ferns per se, but Mike McGroarty has a website, freeplants.com that has a ton of resources about starting a small plant nursery.  You can get going for next to nothing (or nothing), and it's quite easy to make a pretty decent amount of money doing it, especially since you aren't working and have the time available.  I would highly recommend it.  This is the perfect time of year to get started.
 
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Maybe check with a local florist to see if there is a market there for cut ferns?



 
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Vicki Radavich wrote:Lost my job and am trying to find ways to make extra income.  A thought I have is to sell ferns which grow in big swaths naturally on our property.  I am a personal fan of ferns, but do not know if everyone loves them as much as I do.  
A few things I need to know:
How to properly identify the species I have access to.
How to harvest for sale, but not to completely wipe out the natural growth in the woods.
Anyone sell and ship online, or should I just sell locally?
How to package to ship if I do sell online?
Sources for containers?
Any other advice is appreciated.



It may not be an option or a desire but what about a worm farm?  You can sell the worms and the castings.

This is a great video on a guy doing it.

 
Vicki Radavich
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast
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Actually have considered vermiculture!  Thanks for the nudge in that direction.
 
no wonder he is so sad, he hasn't seen this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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