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Botanical Forest Products Table of Contents]

Herb and vegetable products

Profile of industry in British Columbia

Many plant species in British Columbia’s forests have market potential for use as vegetables or food seasoning. Herb species are often used as seasonings to add flavor, aroma or color to many foods or beverages (Thomas and Schumann 1993). Other species can be harvested simply as edible greens or for their roots and tubers.

Forest district staff and industry participants report a current total of 18 plant species used for herb and vegetable products. Table 11 summarizes this information for each of the herbs and vegetables harvested. Aside from knowledge about the species harvested, plant part used and the end product marketed, there is a paucity of data on this industry in both British Columbia and other jurisdictions.

Forest district staff and harvesters of wild herbs and vegetables report an increasing interest in their use as food products, on either a personal or commercial basis. Many of the herbs and vegetables shown in Table 11 are harvested locally for personal use. A demand for diet variety in urban centres has created a commercial demand for many herb and vegetable products. Such wild herb and vegetable products not only add variety to diets but also can provide food substitutes for people with acute allergies. For example, the starchy materials in biscuit root, camas roots [7] and cattail roots are substituted for wheat flour in allergenic diets (Macy 1990).


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