Hello everyone, I'm a 25 year old male located in Northern Middle TN that loves to be in the outdoors. Although I've been digging wild ginseng now for several years on family members land, I'm still what most people would consider a newbie, therefore I have a few questions. This year I plan on expanding on the areas that I dig,is there any necessary requirements that I will need other then the land owners permission. Also in years past I have just sold my dry ginseng to a local buyer that pays me so much per ounce. I was wondering if thats how all buyers work or do they pay me not only by weight but the quality of the roots too. All advice and knowledge will be greatly appreciated and I'm very excited about this upcoming Season.
We have some Tennessee diggers and dealers in here who will be better prepared to advise you on the specifics of digging and selling in that state.
I will point out though, that guality over quantity is rapidly becoming the norm in the wild ginseng world. Roots which are boney (heavy and dense) are basically undesirable. Also long thin roots (pencils) are also not desirable.
Never wash your roots too well, just knock off the loose dirt. Dig and handle them carefully so as not to damage them in anyway. Never sun dry them or put them in a car on a hot day. Ginseng should never be dried at temperatures over 100 degrees. Once drying starts, keep high volumes of airflow, and constant or slightly advancing temperatures from 80-100 degrees. Before drying, it is best to keep your roots in an open paper bag or box in the refridgerator for a couple weeks to a month. This will start the drying process, and will condition the roots for better drying. This normally resulults in corky root (light and less dense, the opposite of boney root).
When digging, look for the larger, more mature roots. I find a good rule of thumb is the thickness of the stem. It doesn't always work, but it is a good indicator. The thicker the stem the thicker the neck and larger the root. Smaller roots are much more valuable growing bigger and producing seed out there in the woods.
And don't forget to keep learning. Ask a lot of questions when you have them, and have fun!
First of all I want to thank you very much for responding back to my post. All of the knowledge and tips received are greatly appricated and I will try to apply them to the best of my abilities.
However, I will have to admit I'm somewhat confused, like I stated in my first post I have been digging and selling for several years now but I'm still a newbie. That being said in the past few years when I've sold my ginseng I have sold it dry. The buyer that I have always done business with, always recommends folks to dry their gensing in a dehydrator or in window sills so that it sets in the sun. Is this method an incorrect way to having good quality ginseng?
Could this be because the buyer would rather have Roots that are more dense. So that its putting more money in is pocket?
Again thanks a lot and Im looking forward to hearing back from you!
Well, we are learning that a lot of the things we thought we knew about ginseng (traditional wisdom) has been proven to not be so true after all.
Never dry ginseng in the sun. Ever. I know dealers who absolutely refused to listen to me when I advised them to stop putting green ginseng in front of their furnace duct. The ginseng he dried was hard as a carp in 2 days...but boney as all hell. I won't buy his stuff any more.
Different buyers/brokers have different markets with different requirements and ideals. However, none of them want boney root. So lets consider this. We have 2 lbs of ginseng that is worth $600/lb if it is mostly corkey. However, it might weight 3 lbs boney but only be worth about $200/lb.
Thank you for your advice. I believe this season I will try both methods of drying and then compare the weight and quality to one another. However in the past seasons my current buyer has been paying what seemed to be top dollar for my area. That being said I want to do what is right but at the same time do what is putting the most cash in my pocket.