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US: Herb growers survived 'busiest time of the year'

Growers of herbs have seen a large increase in business in the lead up to the Thanksgiving Holiday. Retailers are preparing for the influx of customers looking for fresh herbs to supplement their traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and it's the traditional herb varieties that are leading the way, as well as an increased popularity of living herbs sold in pots.

"This is the busiest time of the year for us and we're right in the thick of it," said Chris Wada, of North Shore Living Herbs & Greens, in Southern California last week. "We are currently shipping around 7 times more than the average weekly volume in the lead up to the Thanksgiving Holiday. Many people are buying herbs for their Turkey dinners. The popular varieties, including Rosemary, Sage and Thyme have been selling well. Our seasonal Holiday Roasting Mix, which includes all three of those varieties is also a customer favorite. Overall, Basil is still our most popular variety, as it is nationally where it makes up 34% of the market, followed by Mint, Thyme and Rosemary, with 12%, 11% and 10% respectively. Recently, we have noticed the rise of Mint in terms of overall sales and Thyme has also had a rise in popularity recently. All of our products are available potted or in a clamshell package with the roots attached for freshness."

Good conditions for herbs in Coachella
North Shore Greenhouses grow their herbs in the Coachella Valley, where they say the climate is ideal for growing herbs. They are able to run a year round program on all their varieties, thanks to their hydroponic, greenhouse setup.

"We are able to have a year round program of all our varieties here in the Coachella Valley," Wada said. "Our living herbs are grown hydroponically inside over 10 acres of controlled environment greenhouses. The sun shines 354 days on average a year in this region which generates a lot of heat energy, ideal for herbs to thrive. Therefore, growing conditions are excellent for producing consistent, quality products. North Shore offers a mix of conventional and organic varieties, primarily sold to retail."

Continued focus on potted varieties
Customers are being increasingly drawn to living herbs, both potted and in clamshells, as they look for fresh ingredients that are readily on hand in the kitchen. North Shore have seen this potential and tethers their business model largely around the living herb products.

"North Shore is focused on growing fresh, living herbs and the company has been growing this category for many years," Wada continued. "Living herbs mean less food waste, with consumers and retailers experiencing extended shelf life, leading to a number of benefits. With continual year over year category growth, consumers are driving the increase of less popular and more niche fresh herb varieties, such as Oregano and Thai Basil, which we are excited to see.”

North Shore have also recently built a new greenhouse to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand. They will also be launching a new brand next year."

For more information: 
Chris Wada
North Shore Greenhouses
Tel: +1 (760) 397-0400
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