Making HAY from Your Forest
Forest owners now can enjoy annual income from their woodlands and still manage for high quality sawlogs and veneer logs. No, there haven't been any new super-growth hormones developed. However, foresters have begun to focus on non-traditional items that nature produces in and around forests every year--potential products that can be marketed for annual income.
Tree & Shrub Pollen
Did you ever think about tree pollen as a product of your forest? Tree and shrub pollens of many species are harvested in hardwood stands beginning in early spring, when flowering starts. Generally, pollens are harvested by "producers" who pick the flowering structures when the pollen is "ripe." They contract in advance with landowners for pollen harvesting rights.
Prices for raw pollen vary from about $1 per gram for the most common species to over $20 per gram for species that produce little pollen or occur in a limited range.
Prices vary from year to year, but pollen processors distribute price lists containing the species they desire to purchase that year and the approximate amount they are willing to pay for material meeting their specifications.
Berries and Fruits
Blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, huckleberries, wild strawberries, wild grapes or mulberries grow under a forest canopy. Landowners might allow people to pick wild berries for a fee or pick them themselves and sell the fruit to individuals or local businesses for further processing.
Persimmons, pawpaws, chokecherries and crab apples are used for specialty jams and jellies, confections and baked goods. May apples and crab apples are used in jellies and preserves as well as medicinal compounds. People are growing natural varieties of pawpaw, sometimes called the "Ozark banana," for more consistent fruit production, larger fruit size and smaller seeds. The pulp of the fruit is high in vitamin C. The twigs and leaves contain compounds used as natural pesticides and anti-cancer medicines.
AgriMissouri Buyers Guide, a publication of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, lists many processors and canners and markets for a wide variety of wild crafted products. This publication is as an excellent reference for landowners attempting to find existing markets for many special forest products in their local area.
If you have access to the Internet, visit <http://www.spoon.com> to see what a variety of gourmet products can be produced almost entirely from wild harvested fruits and nuts.
Black walnuts have been the major nut crop in Missouri for many years, thanks to Hammons Products Company of Stockton, the world's largest processor of