A native product of the Mediterranean region, rosemary is primarily grown in three nations: Tunisia, Morocco, and Spain. The main market outlets for the rosemary crop are dried herbs, antioxidants, and essential oils. Tunisia produces around 80 MT of material per year, with Morocco following at around 50 MT. In all three countries, rosemary is a wild crop that is harvested through government adjudications or land quotas provided by cooperatives and other private parties. These contracts allow harvesters to work the land for 6 years, picking rosemary and sun-drying it before packing the product for shipment to processors.
Rosemary is most commonly harvested in May and June in order to prevent damage from potential wildfires during the later summer months. As such, the 2021 crop is scheduled to begin quite soon, with reports indicating that the crop size will be average to previous years. However, all 2021 production has been sold out for months due to an increased demand for antioxidants and essential oils. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on rosemary oil stocks, primarily due to the alleged antiseptic properties of rosemary and its usage within the medical world. Prices are firm and under a lot of pressure due to the additional challenges presented by increasing freight costs worldwide. On top of this, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia have all closed their borders due to COVID-19 regulations, and the only cargo space that exists on ocean and air vessels remains very limited. Buyers can expect prices to remain firm as we continue to move away from the rosemary season.