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Mint Industry from "The History of the Town of Ashfield"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The peppermint industry in Ashfield, which eventually included spearmint, hemlock, spruce, tansy, and wintergreen, flourished in the first half of the 19th century. In 1821, there were five distilleries in the town, and by 1830, there were ten. The oils were processed into essences and soon peddlers began to go out from Ashfield into other New England states and west to New York State. When it was discovered that the plants could be more easily cultivated in the richer soils of New York State, the industry gradually waned in Ashfield and grew in the state to the west. By 1892, over $400,000 worth of peppermint oil was manufactured annually in Wayne County, New York. As a result of the industry's move, many Ashfield families also left New England for points west; some moved as far as Michigan where they again grew peppermint.
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