How often do we get the opportunity to enter an emerging industry on the ground floor? That’s right, not very often at all. It’s even more rare when we have the chance to enter on the ground floor of a re-emerging industry that is perhaps as old as civilization itself. I am of course talking about the Wildcraft industry. As simple and inexpensive as it is to start your own Wildcraft business, it truly is one of the best ways to earn money quick that there is today.
Wildcrafting used to be a very common practice. Individuals would harvest items that were native to their area in order to survive. Then with the introduction of “trade” they began to barter surplus stock to other groups of people for items that were native to other areas.
Though all but forgotten by most, this industry is still around and flourishing. With hundreds of millions of dollars changing hands annually. Today Wildcrafters harvest a number of different non-timber forest products.
Two of the most common being….
- Season; Oct. through the first week of Dec. is generally the harvest season for Christmas decorations (with tens of millions of dollars trading hands in just a few short weeks.) However, for other uses, boughs can be harvested at any time of the year except for in the spring (shortly after new growth has taken place.)
- Harvest Techniques; The only tools needed to harvest evergreen boughs are simple everyday pruning tools. However, in order to maintain tree growth and vigor the harvester, practicing responsible harvesting procedures, should leave a good portion of the foliage intact. This practice will insure a sustainable harvest for the Wildcrafter, as the quality of the boughs will improve after the first harvest.
- Background; Greenery is used by both individuals and the floral industry for flower arrangements and a multitude of seasonal decorations. All conifers can be used in this way. The most popular in the Northwest include the True Fir, Cedar Pine, Mountain Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Incense Cedar. Evergreen boughs are also harvested in order to extract their essential oils to be used in the manufacture of various fragrances. Boughs are shipped commercially throughout the country.
- Season; Moss may be harvested year-round, although it is easier to handle during the drier parts of the year.
- Harvesting Techniques; Harvesting moss is simply a matter of pulling it from trees or limbs by hand. However once again, following responsible harvesting procedures is a must and care should be taken to leave some of the moss on the limbs, on the lower two feet of the bole, and in scattered patches when harvested from the ground.
- Background; Mosses are non-flowering plants that contain chlorophyll and produce their own sugars, but instead of having roots, they have rhizoids. Moss is found attached to branches or boles of trees, as well as in duff, logs, soil, and rocks in both dry, rocky areas and dense moist forests. It is used by both homeowners, and commercial nurseries alike in order to retain moisture around bedding plants and in floral arrangements.