Buyers for Wild Ginseng, Wild Ginger, Bloodroot, and Mayflower
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: March 13, 2007

My father digs these roots from the natural environment, as a pastime. He would like to know if there are any small time buyers left in Ohio, that do not require mass quantities. He takes great pride in collecting and drying these roots, and would like to be able to sell them. The local man he used to sell to is no longer in buisness. Do you know how I can get a list of buyers who will accept just a couple of pounds of each root?

This is the tragedy I see now happening to our rural and semi-rural. He probably sold to Wilcox Natural Products. Over the last ten years, the market went into such a slump as to disintegrate regional and local buyers in a network for wildcrafted raw materials. I lost all of my great farmers during this period.

As with all situations, however, there is a cycle to things. And, the need for a raw material supply from local and regional wildcrafters has reemerged. It should be no problem for your Dad to reconnect with two or three of his friends who also did this way of life. Like fishing, it is a way of life that is being lost to "progress."

Let’s start with his products, volumes, and price expectations. Ohio is still able to produce a number of raw materials for the trade. That needs to be built now, to include a new list of potential buyers. I can assist in the marketing of some of these materials, but many of the newer buyers have no clue as to the importance of people like your father.

This year alone I see the need for at least 60,000 new small farms, and the associated collection of local raw materials from the forests. Many of these are now being farmed. The new future for you and your father will lay in the sustainability of the crops he can wildcraft. Cascara segrada bark from my region is now farmed as a small farm woodlot management system (11 year rotation). Use that as a metaphor.

It must be organized on a local and regional basis. Newer outside buyers don’t understand the importance of these flow chains of raw materials. They need to be rebuilt, and books written on ho9w to do it. May that is how you help your dad, by being an activist (like I did some 30 years ago).

I would not mind guiding you toward organizing these buyers for your local and regional flow of raw materials. I just don’t have the time to do it myself (this time around).

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