Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grow Your Own Ginseng! Save the Forest

The most asked questions we get are - how much is ginseng selling for? when they do get ready to harvest the roots? who do they take it to to sell? where can they find a dealer?

Well, I'm sure the price for good quality, dry ginseng will be different within 7 or 8 years when you get to the point when you are ready to sell your roots, but over the last 3 or 4 years, it has been going anywhere from around $250 to $500 per pound. The "explosion" of prices of ginseng came in 2007 when wild ginseng hit close to $1,000/lb dried and woods-grown and wild-simulated ginseng roots fetched $350 to $750/lb dried, depending on the age and quality of ginseng roots. I expect this price trend will stay and will be strengthened more due to the great demands in the Chinese market.

Who do you sell it to? That is the hard question! First, I would try to keep it in your own state that you live in. It is a protected plant but it's ok to grow your own, but when you start taking it out of your home state, you will have to purchase a license. If you can't get a fair price for your harvest and you have a lot of rootlets, getting them licensed will be your best choice to get a higher price. It's not hard to find a dealer to sell's hard to find one that will give you a fair price for good quality roots. For those of you have no idea who your state ginseng dealers are, I will be posting a dealers list for each state soon.

When you sell it to a dealer, he takes it to another dealer and that dealer takes it to someone else. It passes hands maybe 5 times before it gets to be exported to China. Everyone tries to find someone higher up the ladder so they can bypass the middle man, but this is almost impossible because they are interested more than the small grower can supply. They are interested in TONS! If you sell it for say-- $400 /lb by the time it gets to be exported, they will probably be paying 4 or 5 times that for it. That doesn't sound real but it is true and you think you are making good money at $400 a pound.
Beginning of this year, a lot of growers all around the Appalachian Mt. area are planning to form co-operations. They will have a grading system so you know what you have and you will have a good idea what your ginseng is worth without someone picking through it and telling you it is low grade. You will probably have to pay a small percentage fee for your roots to be sold, but it will bypass a lot of hands and you will get a very good price - not to harm the dealers - just to get a fair price. Well, I'll write more on this later but so far I have heard nothing but good news for the smaller growers and wildcrafters. More later.