9 Unexpected Crops Farmers – Farming often conjures images of vast fields bursting with wheat, corn and soybeans; but farmers worldwide grow a wide array of unusual crops ranging from medicinal herbs to exotic fruits – many unusual things which farmers cultivate to meet consumer demands and expand their businesses. Here we take a look at Nine Unusual Things Farmers Cultivate that showcase the diversity and creativity of farming.
Ginseng Ginseng, an ancient medicinal herb used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, has long been recognized for its ability to increase energy levels, reduce stress levels and enhance cognitive functions. Today it can be found growing across multiple countries including United States, Canada and China.
Ginseng is primarily grown in the Appalachian region in the US, where soil and climate conditions are ideal for its cultivation. Ginseng farmers must be patient as the plant matures over several years to produce its characteristic roots valued for medicinal uses; once harvested it can fetch a high price from consumers.
Wasabi, or Wasabia japonica paste, is an aromatic green paste commonly served with sushi. While most wasabi sold in the United States is actually created using horseradish and food coloring, authentic wasabi comes from its root system of this plant.
Grow wasabi can be an intricate process, as its growth depends on specific conditions. For maximum success, wasabi needs cool, shaded environments with ample moisture, such as those found in Japanese mountains; however, farmers across the world, including in the United States, have started experimenting with hydroponic methods of growing wasabi.
Quinoa Quinoa, a gluten-free grain, has become increasingly
popular over time due to its nutritional benefits. Rich in protein and fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals, quinoa originated in South America thousands of years ago but can now be found growing throughout various other regions including the US.
Quinoa can be an especially difficult crop to cultivate, requiring well-draining soil and cool temperatures. But farmers who successfully cultivate it can sell it at a premium, making it an attractive crop option for small-scale farmers.
Kiwano, commonly referred to as the Horned Melon in Africa, is an edible fruit characterized by yellow or orange skin with spikes, and a green jelly-like interior filled with edible seeds. Kiwano’s taste has often been described as having elements from cucumber, banana and lime combined into its distinct taste profile.
Although kiwano may not be as widely recognized, its popularity is rising in both North America and Europe. While growing kiwano can be challenging due to the warm temperatures and plenty of moisture required, farmers who successfully cultivate it can sell it at higher prices, potentially turning into a profitable crop.
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are small red fruits native to China that have long been prized for their nutritional value and use in traditional Chinese medicine. Packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as well as anti-ageing benefits, Goji berries may even have anti-ageing properties!
Goji berries are currently produced in several countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. While growing these fruit can be difficult, as it requires well-draining soil with ample sunlight; those who succeed may sell the harvest at higher prices – making goji farming potentially profitable!
Truffles are an underground variety of fungus that grow near tree roots. Their distinctive aroma and flavor have made them highly valued culinary ingredients; their hard to find presence has led many chefs to refer to them as the “diamonds of the kitchen.”
Truffles are traditionally grown in Europe, particularly France and Italy, though there are now truffle farms across the globe including in the US and Australia. Truffle farms use specially trained dogs or pigs to locate truffles which they then sell at high prices to restaurants or gourmet food stores.
Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. This natural alternative to artificial sweeteners has gained great popularity recently; being much sweeter than sugar without raising blood sugar levels or contributing any additional calories.
Stevia is most commonly grown in South America, specifically Paraguay and Brazil. However, cultivation has now expanded into multiple other nations including the US and China. Growing stevia can be challenging as it needs well-draining soil and lots of sunlight – however successful growers could sell it at a high price making this crop potentially profitable for any farmer.
Saffron Saffron is a spice harvested from the flower of Crocus
sativus plants. With its distinctive flavor and aroma, saffron is often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes as a culinary condiment or medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Saffron is grown primarily in Iran, though other countries, including Spain, Italy and India also cultivate it. Growing saffron can be difficult due to its unique growing conditions that require well-draining soil with ample sunlight exposure and careful management – yet it remains one of the world’s most expensive spices, making saffron an extremely lucrative crop for farmers.
Lavender is a flowering plant widely recognized for its aromatic purple flowers. Lavender can be found in perfumes, soaps and other beauty products as well as cooking and baking, with some believing it has medicinal benefits like helping reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Lavender is most often grown in Europe, particularly France and England; however, cultivation has recently spread to several other countries including the US and Australia. Lavender cultivation requires well-draining soil, ample sunlight and careful management – but successful lavender farmers can sell it at a substantial profit margin, making this crop potentially profitable for growers.
Farmers are constantly exploring new crops to cultivate, and this article has focused on nine unusual ones that farmers around the world can grow – such as mushrooms and tea leaves to goji berries and lavender. While each crop requires careful management and attention from its cultivator, those willing to take up this challenge could find great rewards in return.