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Always comply with your State Ginseng Rules and Regulations when selling and buying wild ginseng roots.

TOPIC: how to know what quality is and grade

how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16173

could some one please show the differant types of quality so that everyone can tell if they are being takeing advantage of i think the reasons the diggers think they are being took advantage of is because they do not know how to tell quality and diffrant grades im a new buyer this yr and had bought stuff i thought was good and in return found out it was bad i had never bought other peoples roots so i never seen anything other than what i dug out of the mnts but they are some diggers out there who have patches they are growing and trying to slip it in on you so they are realy ripping the dealer off if you want a fair price then you should only bring quality sang to the table and not your woods grown and if you do bring woods grown then exsept the price for woods grown,cultivated in not knocking anyone here by this post but being a new buyer this yr i had found out it is tuff and the grass aint as green as you think on the other side also, mutt, i do agree with you some of these guys are crooks so that is why as a digger you realy need to know what you are selling and what it is realy worth (quality)im learning my self dont take the word of one dealer shop around and see what they all say about the quality of your roots and then you think back and come up with your on truth

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16174

coondog, are you talking about wild simulated patches or woods cultivated patches, or both? Have you bought any wild simulated and is there a difference in the quality?

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16175

Coondog,
All I know is the good roots are bulby (Non-Carrot Like) in shape. Good roots are miss-shaped, forked, sometimes knarly, twisted etc. Good sang has often has multiple roots and visible growth rings the more the better. Good sang is mature with a long root neck and many bud scars or curls. I would hate to be in the position to have to learn as I go if I were a sang buyer. Sounds like an expensive learning curve. I know what good sang looks like in Ohio. But I am sure there are many grades in between great sang and bad sang. The dealer I have always sold too treats people right and does not get many if any complaints.
All I can say is I would advise people to go to a reputable dealer that knows their sang. Nothing against a new sang buyer. But from what it sounds like in your post the dealer can get screwed really bad too if they do not know all the grades in between great sang and bad sang. I am not sure how the process works, so hats off to all you sang buyers treating people right and the new sang buyers trying to do people right. I dig only mature roots so I never have to worry about selling sang that is not quality.

Good luck everyone.
Latt

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16176

Coondog,
I've been buying for 5 years and yes it's very difficult.
I look for older roots that has the longer necks and stress wrinkles on the main body.
Truly wild seng should be lightweight and corky.
If seng is to large,to smooth and feels a little heavy it's had bone meal added to the soil.
I've seen seng where the main root will look good but have a feeder root growing next to the top that has grown to fast and large due to top dressing of fertilize.
Also some replants will curve upwards giving it a j hook which is undesirable.
If it does'nt look right just pass on it.

rootman

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16178

Everything you described I've found in wild ginseng mostly due to soil type and soil moisture. You will get a few of these but if someone drings a grocery sack to you like that, better think twice.

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16179

Coondog - I don't have any pics to post with this, but will try to answer your question the best I can.

If a person is digging \"wild\" ginseng from scattered patches in the woods. and is only digging legal (3prong plants in most states) plants without damaging the roots and handles and dries them properly (not broken or moldy or overly washed), then there should be no worries about having the price discounted.

If dug and handled as described above you will have different age class plants with different shapes and good wrinkle to them. Below I will list some undesirable things to watch out for as a buyer, and what a digger should expect to have his/her ginseng discounted for.

1. damaged roots (you can get away with a little, but expect to be discounted some if more than about 5-10% are damaged (broken or gouged) The higher percentage of damaged roots the more the price will be discounted. (You are going to have a lot of the very fine hair roots break off no matter how careful you are. This is not what I'm referring to.)

2. Moldy roots. These are pretty much worthless (would you buy moldy produce?)

3. Slick roots (If they don't have good growth rings, and are smooth and very light colored chances are that they are cultivated. You do find a few slick roots in the wild, but If there are a lot of them and they are big for their age then they look like cultivated roots which can be bought for a LOT LESS than wild roots).

4. Dense Heavy Roots. The buyers want light \"corky\" roots. I'm not sure why, other than what rootman had to say in his post about bonemeal and fertilizer being added to the soil.

5. Overly washed roots. Too much washing will give the skin of the root a lighter appearance colorwise. The buyers prefer a darker colored skin on the root. I've heard several ideas as to why this is, and am not sure that one of them is more correct than the others, but this is how it is. A seller should not expect to be discounted a lot, but may be discounted a little.

6. Poorly dried roots. This would include moldy roots, but even without mould if they are discolored on the inside then they have not been dried properly(or possibly stored for too long). A properly dried root should be a creamy white on the inside.

7. All younger plants of the same age class. (Once again this indicates that they are being grown (cultivated).

8. Small roots. A lot of times these are underage plants with only a few bud scars. Often times there may be a few mixed in, but as a buyer or seller if there are a lot then the price will drop (if you can find a dealer who will buy them) (If I notice a bunch of young roots I won't buy it.)

9. Long slender roots. I've heard a lot of reference to carrot like roots, but I think that a better description would be to say shaped like a curved pencil. The end buyers just prefer short fat shaped roots. If the majority of what you have look like this expect to be discounted some. I believe that this has more to do with regional growing conditions and is already reflected in regional prices though.


These are the top things off the top of my head. Hope this is helpful to new buyers or sellers. This is my first year buying, but I have picked the heads of several dealers over the years, and have met a few new guys this fall that have been very helpful.

There are some very good diggers on this site and most are doing a great job digging and handling their ginseng. Most everything I've ever seen on this site from the diggers is top notch ginseng and should expect to get top price for it. With that being said, I have to say that some of the general public is not nearly as good at taking care of there ginseng as I've had several people bring me some poorly handled roots. I've also turned away a couple with extremely small stuff.

I don't have any pics of the undesirables to share, but this pic of a root that I dug last fall has about everthing you are looking for. Good size with a long neck, good wrinkle and shape.
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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16180

thankyou for shareing your knowalage 5PRONG and there is no dout that root is wild but the other stuff is hard to judge at times and that is what the diggers and my self have to learn that it is not top quality but it can be sold at alot lower price tho you are still makeing money on that root even tho its not top quality i just want to say i have been on and off of this site for some years now and really have learned alot from all of you so my hats off to you all and i want to personaly thank all who takes the time to reply to this post because i feal it will help us all in the long run and please if anyone has some pic please post them THANKYOU

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16182

  • Billy
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  • Billy Taylor from Bell County Ky
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Well said bro 5*

5prong wrote:

Coondog - I don't have any pics to post with this, but will try to answer your question the best I can.

If a person is digging \"wild\" ginseng from scattered patches in the woods. and is only digging legal (3prong plants in most states) plants without damaging the roots and handles and dries them properly (not broken or moldy or overly washed), then there should be no worries about having the price discounted.

If dug and handled as described above you will have different age class plants with different shapes and good wrinkle to them. Below I will list some undesirable things to watch out for as a buyer, and what a digger should expect to have his/her ginseng discounted for.

1. damaged roots (you can get away with a little, but expect to be discounted some if more than about 5-10% are damaged (broken or gouged) The higher percentage of damaged roots the more the price will be discounted. (You are going to have a lot of the very fine hair roots break off no matter how careful you are. This is not what I'm referring to.)

2. Moldy roots. These are pretty much worthless (would you buy moldy produce?)

3. Slick roots (If they don't have good growth rings, and are smooth and very light colored chances are that they are cultivated. You do find a few slick roots in the wild, but If there are a lot of them and they are big for their age then they look like cultivated roots which can be bought for a LOT LESS than wild roots).

4. Dense Heavy Roots. The buyers want light \"corky\" roots. I'm not sure why, other than what rootman had to say in his post about bonemeal and fertilizer being added to the soil.

5. Overly washed roots. Too much washing will give the skin of the root a lighter appearance colorwise. The buyers prefer a darker colored skin on the root. I've heard several ideas as to why this is, and am not sure that one of them is more correct than the others, but this is how it is. A seller should not expect to be discounted a lot, but may be discounted a little.

6. Poorly dried roots. This would include moldy roots, but even without mould if they are discolored on the inside then they have not been dried properly(or possibly stored for too long). A properly dried root should be a creamy white on the inside.

7. All younger plants of the same age class. (Once again this indicates that they are being grown (cultivated).

8. Small roots. A lot of times these are underage plants with only a few bud scars. Often times there may be a few mixed in, but as a buyer or seller if there are a lot then the price will drop (if you can find a dealer who will buy them) (If I notice a bunch of young roots I won't buy it.)

9. Long slender roots. I've heard a lot of reference to carrot like roots, but I think that a better description would be to say shaped like a curved pencil. The end buyers just prefer short fat shaped roots. If the majority of what you have look like this expect to be discounted some. I believe that this has more to do with regional growing conditions and is already reflected in regional prices though.


These are the top things off the top of my head. Hope this is helpful to new buyers or sellers. This is my first year buying, but I have picked the heads of several dealers over the years, and have met a few new guys this fall that have been very helpful.

There are some very good diggers on this site and most are doing a great job digging and handling their ginseng. Most everything I've ever seen on this site from the diggers is top notch ginseng and should expect to get top price for it. With that being said, I have to say that some of the general public is not nearly as good at taking care of there ginseng as I've had several people bring me some poorly handled roots. I've also turned away a couple with extremely small stuff.

I don't have any pics of the undesirables to share, but this pic of a root that I dug last fall has about everthing you are looking for. Good size with a long neck, good wrinkle and shape.

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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16184

One thing that can be added is that some buyers can be better than others, looking for properly dug roots that are a step above the average roots and paying you a BETTER PRICE FOR SUCH ROOTS.

As others have stated dig and dry properly and take the time to let these plants/roots age. You will get a lot better price for 30-40 yo roots than you will if you dig a bunch of 5-10 yo plants. A good buyer will pay you accordingly.

I really take time to make sure I get as much of the hair roots as possible. My buyer sees this and pays me a good $ for this.
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Re:how to know what quality is and grade 5 years 10 months ago #16185

maya,
I remember that pic. That is some root. You find some real beauties!
Question fellas, if sang is selling for $500 a lb and you take in roots like this, what would one expect to get paid above the price being paid for great roots? An extra 10%, 15%, 20% ??????????????
Thanks,
Latt

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