Monday, April 30, 2012

Stevia Crop Production begins in Southeastern U.S. States

Georgia and North Carolina should be good for stevia production. They are far enough north for long summer days, producing rapid growth and leaf yield. They have a long growing season, while winters are mild enough that plants might live through the winter, even though winter growth will be minimal because of short day lengths that time of year.

Natural Sweetener Producer Sweet Green Fields Expands U.S. Stevia Crop Production to Southeastern States - MarketWatch:
Sweet Green Fields, a leading US-based global producer of high purity stevia extracts, today announced the expansion of its stevia crop production to the Southeast United States, with crop plantings in Georgia and North Carolina.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Stevia goldmine? NPR features stevia

National Public Radio put together an interesting story about the efforts of S&W seeds to grow stevia on a large scale in California. Most stevia is currently harvested by hand from small plots in Asia and South America. They interviewed Clint Shock, one of the researchers who first collected stevia plants from the wild decades ago. NPR also interviewed a "psychologist of taste" about the unique taste profile of stevia and efforts to improve it's taste. People become accustomed to a particular type of sweetness and tend to react negatively when it's not what they expected. In my family, we've grown used to the taste of green and white stevia powder over time. Now it seems normal to us, at least in some recipes. And we have always preferred stevia over sugar for herbal tea. We think a tea made by steeping stevia leaves in hot water actually has a superior taste compared to sweetening with sugar. That goes for straight stevia tea or using stevia leaves mixed with other herbs such as mint.
California's Stevia Growers Bet On Fast Track To Sweetener Success : The Salt : NPR:

It's stevia time! At least that's what food industry newsletters are saying. Regulatory barriers that once blocked many uses of this all-natural sweetener have fallen. The European Union approved the use of stevia in food late last year. In the U.S., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave stevia a green light in 2008. Sales are soaring.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Farmer sells stevia locally in the Phillipines

The article excerpted below mentions that a grower in the Phillipines (Mrs. Maura de Leon of Tambobong, Bocaue, Bulacan) discovered optimum results from growing several stevia plants per hill instead of single plants spaced apart. She and neigbors grow about 3.5 hectares (about 8.6 acres). She sells stevia in the local market. Optimum production techniques will vary by location. The Phillipines is a tropical climate, for instance, with particular soil types. But it is likely that farmers around the world could use a similar marketing and production plan, employing local farmers and selling to local consumers.
January Agriculture Magazine now out The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online:
She found out that growing several plants per hill instead of single plants has been the key to her success in growing the stevia. She has now taught neighbors to grow for her so that there are 20 neighboring families who have been taught to grow the plant for her. About 3.5 hectares are now planted to stevia which are her source of materials for processing. Her product can now be found in the local market.