Wildcrafted Ginseng
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: January 20, 2006

I have a dried pound of wildcrafted ginseng. It was dug in Kentucky. I sold a pound in 1972 for $380. What is my 2005 efforts worth? I’m sure it will be considerably less than 1972. Also I don’t have a local buyer that I’m aware of.

One of my best sources for Golden Seal (forest farmed, COG) is also a Ginseng buyer. And, he just happens to live in Edmonton, Kentucky. Please call Jeff Swackhammer at (270)-428-2329. He’s mostly out, so be sure to leave a short message, and use my name for reference.

Of course, he is in business for profit, so he will also be paying less than normal direct sales might bring. Ginseng has 32 points, in which it is graded, to be compared to diamonds with four points, and pearls with six points. So, when you ask about current pricing for wildcrafted ginsengs, that can range from 180/lb, to upward of $420/lb.

For comparison, right now forest farmed (COG) 4-year old root from Canada now sells for as low as $42/lb., FOB Ontario. Wildcrafted ginsengs can bring far more incomes, but are completely depended on who, where, and how someone is buying it. It is a hard question, and usually goes as "what the market will bear."

As far as being "less than 1972," I would say no, the prices have actually gone up (slightly). In 1972, wildcrafted ginsengs, usually 10-year-old root went for around $120/lb. Yes, I even bought ginseng back during that period, so that makes me old and grumpy. My teachers included Willard MaGee (Mid-West), Kenny Wilcox. (East Coast), and Leonard Wiley (West Coast). That was a time when no one thought to farm it.

Now, they try to farm it in the most unlikely habitats (Okanagans). That product now goes for less than $20/lb in some situations. It has a terrible fungicide making it not welcome in the US. Good luck with your sale. If you are not satisfied with current pricing, let me know and maybe I help find a home it. I will need a representative sample for grading the points, of course.

I have even seen a 1,500-acre forest farm in Indiana, using a form of terracing to follow a stream downhill. Imaging that man’s problems with gophers and two-legged varmints?

How else can I help you?

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