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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