In the alpine climate of Vermont's beautiful Northeast Kingdom, these American Ginseng roots have been carefully hand grown in our high mountain hardwood forests. At Vermont Woodland Ginseng, we principally use our own farm-raised seed augmented by commercially-produced seed, rather than endangering native populations by collecting wild seed. During years of growth in woodland beds (our roots are a minimum of five years old before we sell them) they have been imbued with the goodness of their forest home.

The woodland beds blend in so well with the wilderness environment that the uninitiated would most likely not recognize an agricultural project. Only excess brush and sub-canopy softwood is removed, and only minimal tilling has been done to create the rich beds for this native North American plant. High above the seedlings, a gentle canopy of maple leaves provides the ideal mix of sun and shade for ideal growth.

The plants are not difficult to identify, but in the wild are often difficult to locate because of their habitat and their scarcity. Leaves grow in clusters of five, and the more mature plants produce berries. In the fall, these berries turn red, and the plant gradually becomes dormant and dies back. Our folks pick the berries, which are seeds, for planting.

Fall is planting time and we direct-seed into our field plantations and woodland beds. Our field plantations are covered with artificial shade to simulate our natural forest shade. Ginseng seeds must overwinter in order to break dormancy and germinate, although they are already one year old when they are ready to plant.

Autumn is also the time for harvest. Mature roots are hand dug - a labor-intensive process, but necessary, as every root must be intact. Roots are then taken to the drying barn, where they will be dehydrated and stored for packaging and shipment directly to our customers.

Up in the woodland beds, the sugar maple leaves, rich in nutrients, fall and pile over the dormant plants, providing a deep blanket of mulch under many feet of snow during the long Vermont winter. For us, winter is the time to enjoy Vermont winter sports!

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