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.
coondog I think that I will join in and say a couple things in this thread as being said from a dealer.
As a dealer the first thing that i look for when i am going to buy a lot of ginseng is as has been stated by latt and maya
1 - have they dug and dryed the ginseng with care ? Is it broken up,choped up,or is it dug properly....I have a video that exsplains and show the proper digging method
Now if the ginseng has been dug in this manner and has been dryed correct then it is of more value to me.
Now you may ask why is it ? then I will answer you and say....It is worth more to me like this because I can sell it for a better price,therefor being a ohnest dealer I will gladly and with appreciation pay you more,simply becausyou deserve to get more for doing such a fine job...
For example the most that I was able to pay for dry ginseng this season was $460:00 a pound because the market for dry in my state has been horrible this season as far as i am concerned,but their was a few diggers that brought me their lot of ginseng 5 is the correct count.They had dug their ginseng well,and had dryed the ginseng well,it was prime ginseng from Ky: I was impressed by their efforts and called my buyer and told him what quality was before me and that i thought these diggers deserved a better price,I was able to get them 5 diggers $500:00 a pound now to me that was great because it has never been $500:00 a pound this season here at all period.
This is something that is very important DIG PROPER,DRY PROPER....then bring it before the dealer and present it,if those guys had called me i could not have got them more than 460 at the best point in the season,but because they where proud enough and sure enough that they had done well as it should be done,they brought it before me and because i was impressed I was able to help them,because my buyer knows that i would not even call him if it was not prime material and worth the call.
To sum this up here it is ----
If you think that you have a superer lot of ginseng that has benn DuG PROPER,DRYED PROPER,then dont call yopur dealer --- TAKE IT TO HIM,seeing is believing for a dealer it is truly all he can go by....People have called me and told me this and that,but when they come most of the time they where lieing to some degree if not nearly all together lieing,,but then some have called and told me the truth,others had even better than they thought,,,,,,KEY - Show Off Your Very Well Doug & Kept Ginseng.....It is worth the gas....
O.k own to point No#2 as a dealer
When you dig ginseng no matter where you dig or what area/state you dig in the wild,THAT IS IN THE WILD the ginseng will very in age and size,some will be 5 years old and then on up to 20 30 years and if you are very lucky higher in years,,,,,Also the ginseng will very in shape some ball shaped,some bulby shaped,some slim shaped,some bulky/chunky some very stressed,some not as stressed now their are many reasons why it will be like this and their are many reasons why different consumers of the roots like the different shapes and sizes of roots.....
I have told you this to exsplain something to you.....
no# 2 Leave all of your ginseng as you dig it,do not seperate it and sell some here and some their.....do not let no dealer offer you a few dollors or even a good bit more dollors for some of your ginesng,,because even though you think that it is a awsome deal you are going to loose overall,,,let me exsplain....in 3 parts,
Part 1 - A dealer will gladly buy your primest roots at a better price because it is worth more than the rest of the ginseng,that is a fact....
Part 2 - A dealer will gladly buy your left over root after that you have let the dealer pick the finest roots from the pile,however it will be at a much lower price than the prime...and lower than what he is giving for root overall
Part 3 - On this site i have saw consumers (people who want to buy ginseng to eat for personal use) offer more for prime root and try to tell the digger sell thie ginseng to them for more money for the certian roots that he/she wants from their lot,,they say i will pay you more for it,and they will as stated in no#1 above so will your dealer if you want to do it that way,but then that leaves you the digger with a bad lot of ginseng to sell to try and move to your dealer,I WANT TO FORWARN YOU OF SOMETHING HERE The Dealer Will No What You Done,be assured you can not fool the dealer he has got to make a profit living buying and selling the ginseng,he will not buy picked over ginseng lots for even what he is paying,much less will he give you a better price even if your his friend.
To conclude this let me say it like this,
Do not let no dealer,no consumer,or no one else seperate your ginseng lot,,,it will hurt you more than it will help you....
A good dealer will tell you the truth if you even ask him about this,if you call a dealer and tell him that you want to do that,if he is ohnest he will tell you that will hurt your lot tremendously.....
Let me give you an example,,,above when I told you that 5 guys had brought me very well,dug,very well handled and dryed ginseng and I got them 40 dollors more per pound than i got any one else this season,,,,,their is more to it than it was dug and dryed with care.....All of the ginseng was their,,it was not picked over,,,it was a very high quality lot of ginseng....If they had picked the ginseng before bringing it to me,,I would not have payd them more than $390:00 to 400:00 for the lot.I was paying 460:00 for lots that had all the root,but wasent dryed and dug as well,but these 5 guys had all together perfect lots of ginseng so they where worth more.
1 of thos guys brought me 10 pounds let us do some math....
In any lot of wild ginseng that is 10 pounds you will have about 17 to 25 o/o of the highest quality roots in the batch all of the other 75 to 83 o/o will be common ginseng or what would be left after the best was picked over....Lets do the math by useing the best lot of ginseng that is by useing the 25 o/o for the 10 pound lot...
Ok he brought me 10 pounds,at a time when 10 pounds was worth $4,600:00 or $460:00 a pound
He got $500:00 a pound because of his well deserved effort and quality of harvest.His total was $5000:00 he gained $400:00 dollors for the same ginseng
Lets say he decided to pick the 25 o/o out of the 10 pounds before he brought it to me that would be 2 1/2 pounds...he sold that 25 o/o to a consumer or to another dealer before he got to me for $650:00 a pound,so at 650:00 a pound for that 2 1/2 pounds he made $1,625:00 every one their is happy,now he comes to me and wants to sell 7 1/2 pounds of ginseng,,but i notice their is no value root in the lot,it has been dug well,it has been dryed and handled well,but my buyer the guy above me will be disapointed in the lot just like i am because the best root is gone.
At this point I have no choice but to say i loive the way you dug and handled your ginseng,but this ginseng has been picked,im sory but i can not give you $460:00 a pound for this ///remember $460:00 was as of this far the top paying price this year...
Then he will say to me !! well what can you give me for this ginseng,,,I will have to say about $400:00 a pound is the best i can do because you dug it well,but if it had been broken up i couldnt do better than $390:00 but it is dug and handled well,so i can give you 400.............
Now he can leave mad but it want do him no good,,i know 3 dealers that want even buy your ginseng if you do this,,and most of the other dealers would offer the digger less than this figure that i have,I have herd of the price decreasing 40 o/o over some one picking the lot..
However if the digger is ohnest with me and says o.k. Billy it has been picked I will let you have it at 400 a pound,,,then he gets 400 a pound x 7 1/2 pounds that totals $3,000:00 dollors
Now the digger that sold me 10 pounds of ginseng and made $5000:00 for a prime lot of unpicked ginseng,dug and handled properly.at a time when it was only paying 4,600:00 for that lot..........
I will prove to you that he was a wise digger and also one that i appreciate being his dealer and will always look forward to buying from him every season with the confidence that i am glad to get him a better price because he deserves it...I can not tell you that every dealer is as ohnest as i am,but i can tell you that many are,and if you do not know one then call me before you sell if you are a true prime digger.....but please understand that I know whats going on,,ok that being said,lets see the end of the matter...
If he sold 2 1/2 pounds for 650 a pound and 7 1/2 pounds for 400 a pound he ended up with a total of $4,625:00
So then $5000.00 - $4625.00 = a loss of 375 dollors for selling the 2 1/2 seprate from the 7 1/2 also remember the seng was paying 460 a pound to start with....that was $4,600:00 for ginseng that was all their but not dug as well,so you can figure if that travel and effort is worth $25 dollors to you or not...
But this digger,,he didnt do that,,,he sold the whole lot at $500 a pound and made $5000
He made $400:00 dollors above any other digger in the state for his quality and ohnesty.
I am as happy fpr him as he is happy for himself because i am a digger as well and have been a long time I know what we go through,it pleases me to help him.
If he had done it another way,He would have wasted time and gas and he would not have my respect for him as a quality digger,and i would not care if i bought his ginseng or not again p.e.r.i.o.d.
O.K I have wrote a book it would seem,but many of you here have known me for years,I have never told you anything wrong or misslead you,and i never will,you are to me my friends...including Mike Lee the owner of this site...
I hope that this will help you in the seasons to come and that you will hear what i am saying and apply it to your work and time spent 1st in the Mountians,and then in your drying area,and then before your dealer not on the phone,but man to man,or woman to man,etc
Merry Christmas Everyone,
Thanks be to the good Lord for another year,
I really appreciate the information. That really helps me and I am sure others as well to know what is going on. I wish you and your family a nice Christmas as well and everyone else too!
Nice book Billy! LOL:laugh: Good info though and I agree whole heartedly that if a digger knows that he has an exceptional lot of ginseng that he should show it to the dealer for the best price quote. Newer diggers should probably take their ginseng to several dealers to see how they will be treated. I believe that many dealers are good honest people, but there are always going to be a few out there that will try to take advantage.
If you've got a good relationship with a dealer you've done business with for years, and he's always treated you fairly then there probably isn't any reason to shop around. But if you've only been at this a few years or are just getting started then I would advise to shop around a little in person to find someone who will treat you fairly. And DO IT IN PERSON!
Phone prices often are not going to be the top price you can get for Very Good Ginseng. This is because discounting the price of ginseng from what you quoted on the phone is bad for business. Once you lower the price on a few guys then you become that dealer who offers one price on the phone, but \"always\" lowers it once the digger shows up. It is better for business to quote a slightly lower price and reward for better quality. Then you become known as a dealer who \"sometimes\" pays more than what he tells you on the phone. Even so there have been times that I've had no choice but to dock prices some for some very poorly handled ginseng.
If you are a newer digger and follow the advice above and take your ginseng to several dealers and 3 out of 4 of them tell you the same thing then generally they are telling you the truth. The one xception would be if the 4th one told you that you've brought some of the finest ginseng that he has seen all year and is willing to give you a little more for it. In this case the 4th guy is telling the truth and the other 3 may be trying to take advantage of you. But generally if you have 3 out of 4 telling you that it is too clean or have too much broken or damaged root then this is goin to be the truth. Take this criticism and put it to use the next time you harvest ginseng. It will pay off then. - This is just an example. I really don't believe that 3 out of 4 dealers are going to try to take advantage of you, but there are going to be a few out there that will.
There was one guy who brought me some beautiful ginseng this year with the following exceptions. 1. about 25% of the necks were broke off and 2. he intentionally snapped off most of the hair roots for his own consumption. Now, I could have reduced the price some, but like I said it was very nice other than these 2 things. I paid the man what I told him on the phone, but explained to him that if it was not for these 2 things I could have given him even more and will gladly do so next time if they have the necks intact and the hair roots left on. - The point is... pay attention to what your dealer tells you. Most of the time he is telling you how to get better prices. It is good for the dealer and the digger. The digger is happier because he is getting better prices and the dealer is happy because he is getting returning business.
Keep working on the dealers guys. Not that some are stingier than others, I just think some have better contacts than others. The better ones may be cutting out a middle man or two and can offer more.
This year in my area they were offering between $450-500 per pound dry. I got $550 for by partners average roots and $650 for my well dug older roots! I also have been offered at least $1500 green if I get any more of the monster roots I dug last year! This dealer has the right contacts and can offer more than the other dealers. He also has contacts that want good quality older roots. This I believe is the key.
These well dug older roots netted me $650 per pound this year! Note the hair roots in tact.
Another example of lots of hair roots. These roots are giving me an extra $100-150 per pound. So to answer your question Latt, around 20% more for older/ well dug roots and the sky is the limit for those monster 1/2 lb roots, .....but you have to have the right buyer w/ the right contacts!
Let me say to all if you read and study what me,5,and maya have just talked to you about,you will get what you deserve for ginseng these are the keys to unlock the best price from your buyer.It is not his/her fault if you do not follow the guide.
Very good book Maya, You have made some very good points. It is definately true that some dealers have some better contacts than others. Also very true about digging and properly handling of the roots. Here is one that I dug this past fall. It does not have very good stress rings, and as a digger I can do nothing about that. But notice that I did do my part as a digger and got it out of the ground intact with all the hair roots.