My name is James and I live in Southern Indiana. I hunt ginseng on my property and a few friends have property and allow me to hunt there. Last season I had a friend that was finding roots on his property that were 30,40,50 years old. The tops of these plants were unbelievable. Nice four prong plants that were over a foot high.
I told my friend that those roots were of higher quality and could probably demand a higher price than just the norm.
I have already walked my property this year (It's the middle of May, 2009) and have already seen ginseng in places that it wasn't growing last year. My friend reports the same as to his property.
To get to the point. The dealer we used last year paid the same price for smaller younger roots as he paid us for the larger older ones. He told us there was no difference. Which, I knew had to be dishonest. My friend sold his roots (as did I) to this dealer. We've been doing this for about five years now and are finally getting smart as to the dealers tactics. We had actually weighed our roots at our local post office on several occasions. Once the post office told me I had five pounds (dry) when I took them to the dealer he weighed them at 4.5 pounds. When I told him that the post office scale read 5 pounds he became very upset. Another time I had a pound dry and he weighed them at 14oz.
As for the larger, older roots, I would like to find someone to give us a fair price this year. I'm not greedy, I hunt ginseng for the fun of it. I have a good job and don't count on the money, though it's nice to have.
If you are interested in buying from me this year, I would love to talk with you. We are really getting some quality 100% wild roots from these lands.
Season starts here August, 31. So we'll start digging, then.
james Jeff wrote:
Thank you all for the e-mail responses. I have enough contacts for now except perhaps for someone in Wisconsin or Minnesota.
As a retail buyer who buys for myself and family, there are two kinds of people I run into when buying ginseng.
Ones that see me and want to charge me an arm and a leg. One famous dealer in Maryland wanted to charge me equivalent of 3000 a pound for fresh roots, and 1000 a pound for wild simulated simulated when I drove 3 hours there. Some dealers tell me the real old stuff are \"priceless\" and you should expect them to sell for \"millions\" in Asia. When ginseng price is 250-350 according to this site, some on this board want 2000 a pound for a mix of older stuff and crap, and some wants to give me a discount for oh, 600 a pound for the mix. How many people here would want to sell their roots to me today for $550 right now? What gives some the right to demand a \"discount selling price\" of 600? Many ebayers don't even get 400 a pound. What can I say, it's been quite entertaining.
Second type of people are more straight forward. They know the dealers will pay a crappy price for the common stuff, and the same crappy price for the \"awesome roots\" that they've been bragging to their friends about for a month. They know that I appreciate the awesome stuff and I walk the talk by paying AT LEAST double (not a crappy 100 dollar more in Billy's scenario). Yes, I do work hard for my money and I don't sell my roots. These diggers are happy that finally somebody appreciate their good stuff, and not someone that beat the price down and throw the good stuff in the barrel with the rest of the broken up pieces. I pay a lot higher for roots even older. I showed up at one ginseng meet and bought the two nicest hundred year old roots for asking price...don't ask me how much but it's not priceless. I keep my roots in airtight glass jars and cases and look at them everyday like you do with your nice pieces. I preserve my fresh old pieces in 50% alcohol in glass only jars with no plastic interface. I preserve my dried ones in the same airtight jars and cases filled with Argon to prevent oxidation. Do you do that? or do you keep them in grocery store paper bags and stash them where you don't see them, until the price is right. Yes, my wife if fed up but probably for some of you too. For these honeset folks that understand this, they also know that I pay them well. They send me what they have without even calling me...then they sell the rest of the junk on Ebay or to the dealers. They are very very happy, and sends me packets of dried ginseng leaves and mushrooms, and get suprised when I try to pay them for those too. We intend to do business year after year. I am the \"end customer\" that people like Bob Beyfuss likes to deal with. Yes, if you like I also buy a lot through Ebay....where the I usually get great deals and make lots of new contacts.
I don't set the crappy market price. My 401K is half what it was, nevermind my home. That doesn't give me the right to give my broker the attitude and demand at least 50% more than what they are worth. Why do Asians buy from dealers, and why are diggers getting ripped off by the \"middleman\"? Perhaps one of the reasons would be that so far I find many diggers to be the first type, and dealers to be the second type. I rather pay more, than play games like the postings you see on this thread. I met most of my friends through my collecting hobbies. I believe at the end of the day, it's the friendship and relationship that counts, not the game playing for some stinking dollars. Hope many of you agree to that.