Rosemary is a New Venture

Reader Contribution by Rima Austin
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One of the benefits of having a new farm is all the possibilities it contains. I am not using all my acres currently; they are being used by a local cattle merchant to grow hay on. He does not pay us to grow his hay, we trade with him; he keeps the weeds out and in turn he is allowed to keep the hay. Things are destined to change however after a text I received from my sister the other night.

She sent me an attachment about a local rosemary farm that had unfortunately been forced to close because of the harsh winter, and asked what I thought about maybe trying our hand at growing the plant. I told her that we definitely have the room to grow it but before we commit maybe we should try a small patch of it to see how it goes. We both agreed so now we are on the road to growing a crop that neither of us knows anything about but that is what I love the most about farming.

This is the area where we will first test our relationship with rosemary.

I decided the first thing to do is research what kind of monetary value is in being a rosemary farmer, and there are really a lot of uses for the plant that I did not know existed such as hair products, bowel problems, cooking spice, skin problems, the list goes on. Just knowing what it is used for does not a money crop make though. There is a lot more preparation that has to go into growing crops for money.

Money has never been one of my strong points; I have always taken the old hippie approach to money management, which does not help when one is trying to start any kind of business. This kind of money management mentality will have to change. Now I have to do a cost-benefit analysis, find suppliers, find buyers, etc. This can get very overwhelming. Not to mention, when the new venture involves growing a crop, other actions must be taken such as having the soil tested. I mean, do we even have the right soil to grow the plant that we need?

Photo: courtesy Mountain Valley Growers

After taking all this into consideration I was asking myself, “Is this worth it, Rima? Is it worth using any extra money that you have and incorporating it into a business that can be wiped out with one bad season?” Well, I have not done all the things I have done and seen the things that I have seen in life by not taking risks, I’m going for it.

So what now? What are my first steps? Even though I had the soil tested in my field when I moved onto the property I will have this done again in order to get the right pH balance. I will use the quarter-acre plot and plant an initial crop to try my hand at growing it and learning what will make it happy. This will be what happens the first year and if everything goes right during the first year we will expand out the next year.

Photo: courtesy Zaara Construction and Consultancy

Once again I am stepping into unknown territory, first the garden, then the chickens and now a crop. The unknown is scary and exciting at the same time and I wouldn’t trade any of this. I expect there to be plenty of failures but when a plan finally comes together and something successful emerges as a result that is the ticket to my happiness. I don’t know anything about rosemary but like everything else I’m jumping in with both feet. I’ll keep you posted.

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