WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club 2017 Planned Activities

— Written By WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club logo

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 Transylvania County.

participants outdoors in the woods listening to presenter

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: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
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: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
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: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
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: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
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 12 p.m.

We look forward to learning and growing with you in 2017!