I am a business owner and acupuncturist living in Astoria. I have been running a clinic, first in Portland, then in Astoria, with multiple modalities. My own practice is chiefly oriented around clinical Chinese herbalism. I have been practicing for 12 years and teaching herbalism live and online, and for the last 2 years have been researching and building a business plan for the next phase of my career – herb farming. Chinese herbs are in high demand, climbing higher constantly, and yet the majority of production continues to be in China and Taiwan. This is complicated politically and also has economic and environmental consequences.
As a leader in my profession, I would like to join the others who have decided to contribute to domestic Chinese herb production. I have been getting education from a variety of sources and have been doing small trials of various herbs on my own residential property. I feel confident I have a list of herbs to try in my first seasons that should grow well in this region. I’m ready to take additional steps forward in attempting to secure land.
While I prefer to buy my own parcel, I am also looking into partnerships and leasing situations that might work. Lease-to-own or similar would be perfect.
Because herbs can grow on more marginal soils than can standard food crops, I have some latitude in the land I’m looking for. I do need a combination of open and forested habitat, as many herbs need to have simulated wild forest environments to thrive. I would love to have water access and some portion of marshier, easily flooded land would be helpful for a couple of herbs I’d like to grow that require that environment. I’d like to eventually have at least 10 acres, but would be happy to start with something smaller, as small as 2.5 acres. In that case, it would be ideal if expansion were possible at some point (parcels available nearby the leased property).
The most important aspect, however, is LOCATION. I do not want to be more than an hour from Astoria proper, as I will still be running the clinic at the outset of this project. The closer to Astoria, the better. I’d particularly like to go East to be more removed from the maritime conditions – Clatskanie, Longview areas would be great. I’d be willing to look at spots closer to Tillamook if otherwise ideal.
Mix of open and wooded land, able to be certified organic within 3 years, some degree of water accessibility & no more than an hour from Astoria.
Other than helping out on hay harvests when I was young, all of my “farming” experience comes from big backyard gardens. I’ve had as much as 1/2 acre under cultivation, all veggies and herbs. I’ve maintained fruit trees and grape vines on my own property.
Trial as many herbs as possible to find the ideal ones for the growing region and land type, begin farmer’s market and online direct sales, begin entering the wholesale market no later than the 3rd growing season. Goats & chickens within 5 years. Organic certification as quickly as possible (critical for herb consumers). Add consumer-grade value added herb products around year 2-3.
Continue to refine herbs grown, trial biodynamic methods, refine harvesting and processing techniques, add on-farm events for public and practitioners, have 60% of revenues coming from wholesale markets. Eventually, I’d like to have 10+ acres under cultivation with an appropriately sized staff and maintain a teaching garden for herb walks & organoleptic webinars.
I won’t need any housing on the property at first, but I do plan to put a RV or yurt on the property as early as possible. Ideally, even in a lease situation, I’d be able to create relevant out buildings. I’ll need at least a drying and processing shed, and somewhere to keep heavy equipment, but those can be built over the first couple of years.
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