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What do you forage AND sell?  RSS feed

 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 271
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I suppose this is as good a forum for this question as any. The question is straightforward enough, but I'd like to request as many specifics as possible. What exactly do you forage? On what kind of land base? How do you package or prepare it? To whom do you sell it, and for how much? What volume might you sell in a typical season?

I'll throw out a few to start.

We've picked wild Missouri gooseberries the past two years, typically late June into mid July. We sold them last year at our farmers market for $10/qt., which worked out to around $6.50/lb. Some went in bulk to a local farm-to-table restaurant. Sold about $300 worth in total each year, picking from bushes scattered around the perimeter of an 8-acre woodlot. We could probably pick half as much again, but we run into the law of diminishing returns.

A few years back we picked and packaged lambsquarters from a few good patches in the garden. Sold them for $3.00/bag, around 1/2 lb. per bag if I recall. We'll try again this year.

We also attempted making holiday wreaths from wild grapevine, decorated with cedar boughs and other bits and bobs. Got a lot of positive comments, but not enough buyers at $20-30 each.
 
Josh Noland
Posts: 28
Location: Southern California
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Foraging is cool, just make sure you are giving something back to the land when you do. We can't just take and expect to keep receiving with no consequences. It's part of the three ethics! I live in Sothern California and have not found many foraging opportunities besides dandelions and lambs quarters from unkept lawns. I'm very interested in foraging and am interested in what others are foraging from the land.
 
Su Ba
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I don't actually sell the stuff that I forage, but I do use some of it for trading. While I could sell some, it's more valuable as livestock feed and food for our table.
 
Michael Newby
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Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
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Unfortunately I don't really do much selling of the things I forage, that kind of stuff gets mostly eaten by me or my animals. I do know a few people who forage and sell mushrooms but they don't do anything fancy, just find a buyer and they'll usually take all the mushrooms you can get.

I added this thread to a couple more forums so hopefully that will help you get a few more replies.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Josh Noland wrote:Foraging is cool, just make sure you are giving something back to the land when you do. We can't just take and expect to keep receiving with no consequences. It's part of the three ethics!


Right. Let's assume that we're not big bad capitalists and that we're foraging ethically, and not let this get derailed into a discussion of propriety.

Also, if you forage stuff but don't sell it, that's great but it's not relevant to this thread. Can we keep it on topic?

Moving on, I'm intrigued by mayapples. They're rampant here, but the squirrels always beat me to them.

Anybody tried mixing wild-harvested greens? Seems like that could be a decent income maker.
 
Mike Feddersen
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Rebecca Norman
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I taught my students and local friends how to make European style capers form the caper plants that grow wild around here, and later one of my friends started a locavore kind of business, selling apricot jam and capers and pickles, etc.
Ladakh-Fine-Foods-capers.jpg
[Thumbnail for Ladakh-Fine-Foods-capers.jpg]
 
Alder Burns
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When I lived in Georgia I got to selling wild mushrooms, mostly dried but some fresh, and some to restaurants as well as individuals. When my reputation got around as a "safe" picker with a lot of experience with mushrooms, I could pretty much sell everything I could pick if I wanted to, unless it was a huge haul, which I would dry and then parse out over the following months and years.....It was never on over about fifty acres or so, and never amounted to more than a few hundred dollars a year, but that was likely because I was just not that ambitious.....
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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We tried lambsquarters again early in the season, mixed with a bit of volunteer red amaranth.  I don't recall exactly, but we sold somewhere upwards of $75 worth in two or three weeks.

Gooseberries were a hit this year.  We just finished picking for the fourth (and probably final) week, selling over $450 worth!  Not bad, considering all we had into it was time.

Wild blackberries are just now ripening, but they tend to be very hit-or-miss in regards to flavor and size, so we might just pick enough for ourselves.

Wild black raspberries coincide with the gooseberry harvest, but they're too dear to sell!
 
Chris Wells
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Location: Zone 2b, Canadian Rockies
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I forage only for my table, but if I was seeking to make money from foraging, I would teach. In this somewhat troubling economy, many seek to develop self-sufficiency but have no skills. Helping them would seem more lucrative on a per hour basis than foraging for income.
 
Ray Moses
Posts: 97
Location: Brighton, Michigan
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The main thing that I forage and wild crop successfully actually are  black walnuts.  They seem to be a wild crop in my area that are consistently available from year-to-year. Last year I made a drum huller to husk the nuts  that I hook up to my tractor then I also buiit  a cracker and a separator table so I can process them pretty quickly.  I've also tried bundles of chickweed Beebalm clover blossoms and autumn Berry never really made any money or had that many buyers however .  I've harvested and processed red Oak acorns in to flour in a fairly large volume however have not managed to get enough yet to start selling but that would be my goal along with hickory nuts as well .  My main business is actually selling my grass fed beef and hay to the horse market so I'm just looking for some ancillary products as well I find this is a pretty good topic thanks for posting .
 
Ryan Kudasik
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Hey Ray Moses, where do you sell your black walnuts and Hickory nuts? Bought a property over the winter was disgruntled to learn it's a black Walnut forest. I'm trying to see the problem as the solution and make the most of them.
 
Tim Siemens
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Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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My wife sells a variety of jellies made from foraged crops:  Dandilion, fireweed, rosepetal, and spruce tip.  She also sells jam made from wild raspberries.

 
Ray Moses
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Ryan Kudasik wrote:Hey Ray Moses, where do you sell your black walnuts and Hickory nuts? Bought a property over the winter was disgruntled to learn it's a black Walnut forest. I'm trying to see the problem as the solution and make the most of them.

I sell them direct off my farm and at farm markets. If you have marketable trees there are always timber buyers in a area that will buy the trees if you want to get rid of them.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Hammons Black Walnuts is a big buyer based in southwest Missouri.  You can find a list of their buying stations on their website--I think their market reaches pretty far.  And black walnut sawlogs are always good for a few bucks...
 
Ryan Kudasik
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Thanks guys, I'll check out Hammonds. I've thought about selling for timber. Not sure how to get them properly appraised though.
 
Ray Moses
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Location: Brighton, Michigan
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Ryan Kudasik wrote:Thanks guys, I'll check out Hammonds. I've thought about selling for timber. Not sure how to get them properly appraised though.

Make some calls first and see what the prices for black walnut trees board foot are. Then there are many other factors that determine price, such as grade, length of trunk and straightness etc. Generally they are not worth as much as what most people think.
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Ryan Kudasik wrote:Hey Ray Moses, where do you sell your black walnuts and Hickory nuts? Bought a property over the winter was disgruntled to learn it's a black Walnut forest. I'm trying to see the problem as the solution and make the most of them.


Disgruntled?  Why?
 
Nikki Roche
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Location: South Carolina
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Foraged foods are having a difficult time taking off in my area, and the only thing that sells really well is pecans. I launched a home-based bakery (thanks to the Cottage Food Law), and I'm trying to ease the locals into foraged foods by incorporating things like pine pollen, wild blackberries, and edible flowers. People sometimes give weird looks at first, so samples are a must. And I educate them about the benefits of the ingredients.
 
Buzz Tatom
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Location: Big Sky, MT
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Here in Montana I will go out on public land and forage for Huckleberries. I don't sell the Huckleberries that I pick, but I do use them for a variety of foods around my house. Huckleberries are great in smoothies, pancakes, cookies, muffins, and just about any other food item that uses fruit. Huckleberries are delicious and my family enjoys eating them whenever we have them around the house. We will usually go out for a couple of weekends and try and pick a few gallons of berries for the upcoming year. We just freeze the berries we forage in gallon zip-lock bags. they might get a little freezer burnt but that doesn't affect the flavor of them too much. Huckleberries have their own industry here in Montana. Some stores dedicate their entire operations to creating huckleberry based goods such as huckleberry chocolate and jam. Some people do go and pick huckleberries in order to sell them but I am unsure of how much they can sell them for and in what quantities.
 
Tim Siemens
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Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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In highschool in southern BC, 20 years ago, I would pick wild huckleberries and sell them to a local store for $16/gallon
 
Roberto pokachinni
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In highschool in southern BC, 20 years ago, I would pick wild huckleberries and sell them to a local store for $16/gallon
  I sure hope the price is higher than that now.  I picked 7 gallons last fall, and they are a little too dear to me to sell at any price. 

I have sold stinging nettles, but generally I do not sell many as I like them too much.  I sold them at the farmers market for $5.00 for a stuffed large ziplock.  These always sell out.

I have sold plenty of these wild mushrooms:  Pine Mushrooms, Orange and Blue Chantrelle Mushrooms, Chaga fungi, Lobster Mushrooms, Cauliflower Mushrooms, hedgehog mushrooms, angel's wing mushrooms... others too, but the first 4 I have sold in volume.  The price per pound can vary depending upon market fluctuations which are often off continent (like France or Japan), and where the crop is largest.  If the crop is booming big somewhere else, then the price in that location goes up, but your's goes down.  It has to be profitable for the buyers to set up and to ship fly them out.

Drying mushrooms and berries in many cases greatly enhances the market value.  Adding value, through processing into finer products usually is worth the effort... but you have to have good recipes and know what you are doing.  I have had success with chutneys, jams, relishes, pickles, syrups, and salsas.   
 
Wes Hunter
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At the moment I'm working on selling a mix of spring greens: lambsquarters, chickweed, dandelion, chicory, queen Anne's lace, clover, plantain, and dandelion petals.

As a bonus, while gathering these things yesterday we found a lone morel by the creek, so we checked our 'spot' in the woods and came away with 20 in total!  But like wild black raspberries, morels are too dear to sell, so it was sauteed morels and wild onions over pasta (with shaved homemade duck prosciutto on top) for dinner last night.
 
Rob Nowland
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Location: Waterford,CT
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Wes,
Like most others here, what I forage gets eaten for the most part.  If I were to try and sell foraged goods, I'd probably try and go the " medicine man" or "herbalist" route and try and sell tinctures, teas, etc...  The issue there is trust between buyer and seller, and your 'e  also probably buying bottles to make tinctures and maybe mason jars for the loose teas.  Also need someway to weigh out the teas by oz. and the find the market clearing price for something like that, which I have no insight into. 

Just a few thoughts

Rob
 
Wyatt Bottorff
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I've made money on herbal tinctures, formulas, salves; some of which I do wild-harvest in my travels. Here in Florida it's Gotu-Kola (also edible with the exception of w/ blood-thinning meds), Poor-Man's Pepper (edible, in moderate amounts), Sida species (also edible), Fl Betony which bear marketable edible water-chestnut like tubers; and of course herbs you can find  everywhere like plantains, thistles, and many other recognizable forms.
Back home in the Appalachians I harvest and use Mullein, Burdock, Chickweed, Dandelions, Solomon's Seal, and someday may begin to sell other things like foods and materials.
I'm beginning the process now to formalize some of the logistics and things to make much more of this happen in the near future.

In fact I just got back from a little trip, where I didn't expect to sell anything, and ended up walking away with $500 in sales.
 
J. Adams
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We used to sell edible flowers to local restaurants. $10 per pound back then (very meticulous labor and very lightweight product). When our own rainbow colored pansies had stopped producing because of summer heat, and our multi-colored bachelor buttons weren't in full swing yet, we panicked because we didn't want to interrupt our weekly deliveries. We then realized our own wild meadows and neighboring neglected old hayfields were loaded with purple clover with its purple/pink flowers in full bloom, as well as some smaller red clover with its rosy flowers. That held us over for about three weeks and the chefs loved it. I guess that's not "wild" foraging but it was foraging something that had gone wild.
 
Libbie Hawker
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Love this thread! I've only just begun foraging for myself. Someday, when I have a stall at the local farmer's market, I'd love to offer foraged foods to others as well. Great ideas here.

Yesterday I started making some liqueurs with madrone bark and lilac (separate liqueurs! I think they'd taste weird together.) I don't know the legality of selling liqueurs yet, so I have no plans to sell these--just enjoy them myself and give them as gifts to friends. But it was a neat experience, gathering the ingredients from the wild, avoiding getting pinched by earwigs, and starting the liqueur process. I'm looking forward to making more wildcrafted stuff!
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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We just started picking gooseberries two days ago, which is about three weeks earlier than usual.  They're moving a little slower than usual at market today, but I think it's also earlier than most folks (at least the ones who know about gooseberries) are expecting to see them.

(I'm trying to post an image with no luck.  Help?)

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Jarret Hynd
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Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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I started selling Sage this year. A neighbour converted her old barn into a sort of gathering place: wedding, funeral receptions, retreats, etc and she had wanted to start selling "Local Products". I'm in the pastures often enough in the summer checking fence that I just cut a bit off each plant and it doesn't take long to get a few pounds of it. I wrap them in bundles, probably around 250-300g, deliver them to her and we split the profit 50/50.

We have so much hawthorn, talking several acres here, yet no one in our area knows what it is and so I can't find a solid buyer or market for it. Last year I effortlessly picked a 5 gallon pail worth in 5-6 hours for myself&friends.



 
Wes Hunter
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Gooseberry season has totally wrapped up for us this year, and it was a doozy.  We had an early spring, so we started picking about three weeks earlier than usual.  And the berries were, on the average, considerably larger than in years past.  (This is determined to some degree by the individual plants' genetics, but on the whole they were bigger this year.). We picked for a total of 6 weeks, I believe.  We could have got another 1-2 weeks worth, but we got busy with other things and lacked the time to get out to the woods.

Except for a couple weeks, we sold gooseberries cheaper than usual ($5/pint, $8/quart) but still came away with $550 all told!

 
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