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Licorice Growing In California








I have for some time been seeking far some information as to the method
of preparation for market and sale of licorice roots. I have a lot of
them and have never been able to find a market, and do not know how they
are prepared for market.

Licorice was first planted in California about 1880 by the late Isaac
Lea, of Florin, Sacramento county. Mr. Lea grew a considerable amount of
licorice roots and gave much effort to finding a market for it. He found
that the local consumption of licorice root was too small to warrant
growing it as a crop; that the high price of labor in digging the roots,
and the high cost of transportation of the roots to Eastern markets
would make it impossible for him to undertake competition in the Eastern
markets with the Sicilian producers, unless, perhaps, he could build an
extracting factory and market licorice extract, the black solid which is
sold by the druggist, and which the Sicilians produce in large
quantities. The preparation of licorice root is simply digging and
drying, but the preparation of the extract requires steam extractors and
condensers. California could produce licorice, for we have a good
climate for it. If it is grown on light, sandy loams, it could be pulled
from the ground by the yard at rather small expense, and yet, one should
not undertake the production unless he wished to put in much time and
money in working up economical production and marketing in competition
with the foreign product, produced by cheap labor and with the advantage
of processes well known and established by long usage. Experiments
should be circumspectly undertaken, for licorice is one of the worst
weeds in the world, and extremely difficult of eradication probably.





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