Used for thousands of years in Asian cultures as a healing herb and tonic, this plant brings in so much profit for growers it has been dubbed “green gold”. Even George Washington saw the potential of this plant; ginseng profits helped finance the Revolutionary war against the British. If you have a small vacant plot and a touch of patience this plant can reap huge rewards. Why patience? Because growing ginseng can take up to six years, as you will have to wait until the roots have fully-matured to harvest them for consumption. If that is well-beyond your timeframe, you can also sell young “rootlets” to other growers to bring some return on investment within a manageable time-frame. Over the six year period, growers can make as much as $100,000 on a half-acre plot from seeds, rootlets and mature roots. With ginseng, early birds most definitely do not get the worm.
The fungus among us grow practically anywhere in the right conditions. They also yield an incredibly high return per square foot. The two most popular gourmet mushroom varieties are oyster and shiitake, which are usually available fresh or dried in most grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets. Of the two options, oysters are especially productive. They can produce up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing space area each year. When selling direct to the consumer, such as restaurants or at Farmer’s Markets, oysters can bring in $7 per pound. That means a 10 x 10 square foot patch of mushrooms can bring in $17,500 per season.
Growers can prosper from incorporating herbs into their garden. Considering many herbs can grow on windowsills with limited light during winter months, this bodes well for growers looking to incorporate a plant that doesn’t require excessively demanding attention. The herbs in highest demand are fresh culinary herbs for grocery stores and restaurants. Farmer’s Markets are once again an excellent place to offer these plants. One way to offer them is as a 4-herb windowsill size garden that is purchased ready-to-snip. Growers may also snip and package themselves – dried or undried – for patrons looking for instant enjoyment. There’s nearly no end to the choices of herb to grow, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks. For beginnings, here’s a list of the top 10 most profitable herbs you can grow.
For growers with capital to invest upfront, medicinal marijuana (or legally-grown in Washington and
Colorado) can be as profitable as Apple stores. That’s right, as profitable as the most profitable company in history. Apple made about $4,650 in sales per square foot in 2016, and a dispensary in New York state could net anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 in revenue per square foot that same year. As more states follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado, and the taxation for this crop is figured out on a state-by-state basis the market price may diminish slightly. But make no mistake, a 2014 article from Fast Company found that marijuana is the world’s most lucrative cash crop. For those ahead of the curve (now!), the potential income from this controversial plant is immense.