NTFP: ginseng

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Sat Dec 5 03:51:36 EST 1998

The following article appeared in The Oregonian, Dec. 4, 1998, p B1-4

Oregon farmers eye ginseng revival

The slow-growing root, once harvested in the Northwest, is seeing a renewal of
interest and a rapidly growing market in the United States.

By JOHN SCHMITZ, Special Writer, The Oregonian

	Four years ago, retired university professor John Dahlberg planted
$9,000 into a second career.	     The Salem resident started growing
ginseng, a slow-growing root credited by Asian cultures as an aphrodisiac and
a cure for everything from fatigue to lack of concentration.   Dahlberg
doesn't expect to harvest the plants on his two-thirds of an acre until next
year. But the payout can reap him as much as several hundreds dollars a
pound.	  Many decades ago, the Northwest was one of the primary producers of
ginseng. But since the 1930s, Wisconsin has had the ginseng-growing
stronghold in the United States. The Canadian provinces of British Columbia
and Ontario are also heavy producers.	    But Oregon farmers say they are
ready to jump back into the radpily growing ginseng market.	China is the
world's largest consumer of North American ginseng. But the product's
popularity is increasing in the United States and can be purchased in
powdered, liquid and pill form at health food and drug stores and even gas
stations. It can also be found in teas, tonics, chewing gum, tobacco,
shampoos and lotion.  About eight years ago, former Wisconsin growing Don
Hoogesteger, who is now considered the father of the Northwest ginseng
revival, moved here to re- establish the crop. Today, there are about 130
ginseng growers in Oregon and Washington farming about 200 acres. Many of the
growers are in the Willamette Valley, and more than a few -- such as Dahlberg
-- have never farmed before.   Given the right market conditions, it's
possible for growers to gross well over $100,000 an acre on a mature,
4-year-old crop. But the high cost of establishing the crop, the
susceptibility to disease and the long maturing period turn some people off. 
   Grower Letha Prichard of Eugene and her husband, Charles, are digging two
acres of 5- and 6-year-old ginseng this year, their first harvest. They
expect to bring about 5,000 pounds of dried product onto the market.  The
Prichards work through a Seattle-area broker who has connections in Hong
Kong, where ginseng is sorted, graded and sold to wholesalers and retailers,
or through auctions. The couple will also have their crop represented at a
product showroom in Vancouver, Wash., opened recently by the Northwest
Ginseng Growers Association. The showroom allows growers to avoid a broker
and deal directly with importers and exporters.  Prices for the roots can
flucturate wildly, depending on size, shape and age, whether it's fresh or
dried, whether it was grown under a canopy or in the woods and the business
climate in Pacific Rim countries.	Right now, wholesale dried root
brings $17 to $25 a pound. But organically raised, wild ginseng can sell for
as much as $300 a pound.   One of the big advantages of growing ginseng,
Dahlberg said, is that if market conditions are bad, the root can be left in
the ground another year or more. Dried root can also be stored until prices
improve.	 Hoogesteger, who harvested one-half acre of his four-acre
plot this year and got 1,800 pounds of dried root, also sells ginseng in
powdered form. He regularly uses the herb for more energy.   "I don't leave
home without it," he said.

About ginseng:
	When taken regularly, ginseng is thought to have the following effects:
	- strengthens the internal organs.
	- reduces stress
	- increases physical stamina
	- prevents headache, fatique and exhaustion
	- increases resistance to disease
	- improve vision
	- improves mental capacity
	- strengthens general well-being
	- and prolongs life.
	- Asian-grown ginseng, Panax ginseng, is considered a stimulant.
	- North American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, is known for its calming
effects -- and higher price.

Posted as a courtesy by:
Daniel B. Wheeler

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/       Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own    

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list