Growing ginseng is equal parts skill, hard work, and good fortune. At Baumann Wisconsin Ginseng, we employ decades of experience along with the latest technologies to produce the finest quality ginseng from our rich Wisconsin soils. From planting to harvesting, processing, packaging and shipping, every step is taken with care to provide you with products you can trust.
We start with authentic American ginseng seeds harvested from our own gardens. Raw seeds are encased in bright, red “berries” that must be mechanically removed and washed to expose the seed kernel. Those seed kernels are then packed into sand to “stratify” for several months when they are planted into beds.
We meticulously prepare raised rows or beds made of soil that are free of rocks and weeds, and then spread the seeds on the surface and gently work them into the soil. To protect the delicate seeds from exposure to light and wet/dry extremes, we cover the beds with oat straw that we spread on the beds using machines we build ourselves especially for that purpose.
Ginseng is special in many ways, especially in that it requires shade throughout the summer months to grow properly. We place 8’ tall poles into the ground all through the gardens, on which we place special, black cloth sheets that simulate the shade of a mature forest of trees.
Ginseng is a perennial crop that takes several years in the ground to reach marketable size, but much longer to actually produce when you add up other factors. Before we plant ginseng into a new garden, we grow special “cover crops” in that soil for two years, which helps fix nutrients in the soil and prepare it to grow ginseng. So from harvesting seeds for planting to harvesting mature roots for market, the process takes several years.
Once a crop field is ready for harvest, we bring in special equipment that we have fabricated ourselves to get the job done. First we remove the posts and shading. Then we run over the beds with a special machine that loosens the top few inches of soil without damaging the roots nearest the top. Another machine then picks up that topmost soil and shakes the ginseng so that the roots sit on top of the soil. Those roots are picked up by hand and placed in large boxes for shipment to our processing facility. Then the machine runs over the beds again to shake loose roots that were deeper in the soil, thereby ensuring that every precious root finds its way to market.
COOLING—the first vital step after harvest. The raw roots are placed in our huge, refrigerated storage area for 2-3 weeks. This sets the roots, allowing some moisture to evaporate and resulting in the beautiful, golden color of our ginseng.
WASHING—after cooling the roots are washed in a large, rotating washer. They leave the washer on a conveyer belt that leads to the first sorting area, where they are carefully examined for any flaws before being moved to the drying kilns.
DRYING—We built our massive, high-tech kilns especially for this crucial process. Proper, even drying removes excess moisture from the roots and prepares them for consumption.
SORTING—dried roots are sent through a final sorting process that ensures each and every root is properly graded and sized for its final purpose and destination. Most of our roots are available directly to you, the consumer, as whole, sliced, or pearls in a variety of sizes and packaged quantities.