For the past year and half, Peppermint Jim Crosby has been growing his mint business in Tucson, and bringing the benefits of mint to the city one person at a time.
Crosby, who often goes by Peppermint or PJ, is a fourth-generation mint farmer dating back to 1912. He always knew of the benefits of mint, so he most likely would be found carrying a bottle of mint. When he would meet someone and they would tell him they had a headache or congested sinuses, Crosby would take his bottle and let the person experience the seemingly healing qualities of the mint.
From then on, he said they were hooked.
“In the early 90s, I had a life-altering experience,” Crosby said. “I asked a question of ‘how can I help people?’ because I wanted to help people and it was the farm, it was growing mint, it was doing the oil.”
Though the Federal Drug Administration hasn’t evaluated the benefits of mint, Crosby said there are many uses for peppermint and spearmint beyond cooking and fresh breath.
A flyer given out by his company shows mint can be used for acne, arthritis, cold sores, congestion, drowsiness, ear infections, insect bites, and can give someone relief from a headache, stress, and nausea.
“Any product that the mint goes into, there is some type of relief and some type of benefit that person experiences,” Crosby said.
Crosby, who moved to Tucson last year, is moving away from the family business of strictly growing mint, and looking at making and marketing products with mint, along with mint oils. In doing this, Crosby aims to keep local farmers employed.
“What we are doing is actually developing a group of independent producers to support our brand as Peppermint Jim,” he said. “We are bringing more farmers in to grow mint, use our root stock, under our growing conditions our knowledge, and sharing what we have learned over the past 100 years about quality and why we are different than the other stuff that anyone else has on the market.”
Over the past 100 years, Crosby’s family has perfected their way of growing mint to meet their high expectations, which sets them apart from the mint extract sold in most stores that Crosby said can sometimes contain only 51 percent mint oil.
“There is no true formula of doing everything the same way all the time and come up with the same result when dealing with Mother Nature,” Crosby said. “However, if you realize what you are looking at and understanding what you are doing, then you can come up with creative ideas as a farmer to make your plants the best.”
In the Tucson business of mint, Crosby has four locations where Peppermint Jim’s mint is grown.
He isn’t content with that. He is looking to expand in the future. For his mint oil, it takes about 4,000 pounds of mint-plant to manufacture three and half gallons of oil. The mint oil, which one-tablespoon will flavor 135,000 sticks of chewing gum, goes a long way. The product is also being put into Peppermint Jim’s candles, lip balm, and misting mint sprays.
Peppermint Jim’s products can be found at farmer’s markets like the ones at Jessie Owens Park, Maynards Market, and St. Phillips Plaza.
To learn more about the mint products offered by Peppermint Jim, visit the web site at www.peppermintjim.com.