Do people buy mayapples & wild ginger?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by heather, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    western PA
    I have seen several places listing gathering these plants as profitable -
    Is this true?
    I can't imagine you could make much $$ at this -
    What would people use mayapples for??
    THANKS for any input - I'm curious!
  2. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    New York
    People make jam and preserves out of mayapples. I suppose wild ginger could be used the same as cultivated varieties.

  3. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    western PA
    I did not know that!

    After doing some searching online, I came across this interesting article in the Mother Earth News archives

    I thought others might find it interesting as well:

    The Family that Forages Together
  4. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2003
    It's a secret
    Before you gather anything check with PA fish and game. Ask for a list of protected species and for any regulations on gathering wild botanicals. They may have a list of buyers available too.
  5. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    We go out a lot and "forage" as a family...
    We "find" new stuff all of the time...we learn something new every year and we have a good time.
    Last year, we ran across elderberries...and wild grapes my dd and i made wild grape and elderberry was wonderful.

    We went out last week and started checkin' things out. We hunted up a few berries and such and decided to come back next week. We were looking for gooseberries but havent had luck with them this year like we did last is so dry...

    My dd and i picked a few extra gallons of extra blackberries and she sold them at the farmers market last gave her some extra cash.

    We found tons of wild garlic...we didnt pick it because we have garlic planted that will be ready this week or so...but if i didnt have any planted, i would have been digging it up too.

    I love foraging and it is fun and a good time...and free goodies.

  6. Pork Chop

    Pork Chop Member

    May 23, 2005
    I have always been a forager. Or i like to call myself a woods crafter. All kinds of things can be gathered for profit. The Mulberries are starting to become of use now. You can dig snake root, blood root, ginseng, its almost an endless list. Check to see if there are any root/fur buyers in your area. Fur buyers usually also deal in roots. Everything has a value if you can find someone to buy it. Or better yet make a market to sell the items that are plentiful in your area.

    Pork Chop
  7. smokie

    smokie Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2005
    i also love foraging, always learning new things. wild ginger is used the same as cultivated, but is alittle more potent. didnt know anyone bought it though, i got a whole woods full of it.
  8. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2005

    The act of collecting plant material from the wild is called wildcrafting. If you look around on the internet you can find quite a lot of info about it. Yes you can make some money doing it and some folks make a living that way. Having said that, I am going to put in my two cents worth now.
    Wildcrafting used to be no problem, there were lots of things out there and a few more or less wouldn't make much difference. Now that is no longer the case. Ginseng is a classic example of this. Ginseng has been terribly overharvested in the wild to the point that it is well nigh impossible to find. You can make an awfully lot of money collecting it. Please don't. This once fairly common plant is listed as threatened in a lot of areas that it was once abundant.
    There are other plants as well, mostly medicinals that bring high dollars for the same reasons. they have been harvested to the point that they are now quite rare. (Check out the United Plant Savers website)
    On the other hand, there are lots of common, edible plants out there that are abundant and the only reason that people don't go get them for themselves is just laziness, or fear of the woods, or fear of snakes or whatever the problem is. For example: Blackberries are very abundant and DELICIOUS, heat and thorns are small problems.

    Wildcrafting rules:

    NEVER take more than 20- 30% of a plant or plant population

    Only collect roots in the fall and winter after the plant has had a chance to complete its reproductive cycle. If there are seedheads or fruits of some kind, take the time to replant them to ensure the contiuation of the species.

    If collecting roots, If you cut off the stem about 2" above the soil line and cut a bit of the root to go with it. (so that you have a piece of the plant that has a bit of root tissue and stem tissue) If you then replant this piece, the plant will most likely survive and grow again, leaving you with most of the root for your own use.

    Only collect in areas of abundance, if there are only one or two plants in the stand leave them alone.

    KNOW which plant you are collecting and be absolutely sure of your ID.

    Only collect from your own land, friends land or public lands. Never collect from private property without getting permission. (I'd shoot you)

    Wildcrafting suggestions:
    I include these as suggestions because they seem to me to be driven by belief system which I wouldnt want to shove down anbody's throat. I do however believe that this is the most important part.

    The largest plant of a group is the "grandmother" or "grandfather" and should be the one you address when asking if it is allright to harvest. It is also the one you would leave your offering to (tobacco or other gift)

    When asking a plant to be allowed to harvest the answer comes as a tightening or loosening in the abdomen. A tightening is a "NO" , a feeling of opening or release is a "Yes". This takes some practice to be able to percieve accurately. "No"s are usually pretty obvious. If they say "No" listen to them.

    Never harvest the grandmother or grandfather plant.

    Never pick the first plant that you see of the species you will be harvesting

    Hope this helps, wildcrafting is a great hobby and will change your eating habits for the better and the food you collect that way is WAY better than the garbage you can find in the grocery store. But if you are going to wildcraft plants for sale, please do it responsibly. Humans are not the only ones on the planet. All of the plants out there are not there just for our use. They have their own agendas and uses for wildlife and the ecosytem they are a part of.

    Thanks for listening to the rant! :soap: :)
  9. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    I know many people want to wildcraft, the problem with the "take only 20%" rule is there is often more than one wildcrafter in an area. I watched a large patch of ginger dwindle to nothing as a number of herbalists discovered it. Each came and took her 20% unaware that a couple weeks later another herbalist would come by and take what she thought was only 20% and so on. At one point the plot was down to three plants and someone came by and dug out one more.

    My husband and I own a native plant nursery, we are licensed to collect wildflower seeds in our state. We have watched whole populations of plants disappear due to three things:
    1. deer browsing 2. well meaning, but naive wildcrafters and 3. people looking to make a quick buck from a national resource they consider a personal freebie.

    Check out United Plant Savers for more information about our native plant populations and why they are in crisis.

    With the exception of the afore mentioned wild ginseng - most commercial processors hire commerical growers (you can do that and make some money) to supply a steady stock of plant material. The only other people looking to buy dug wildflowers are plant suppliers who sell to places like Lowes and Home Depot, where you can buy a (dead) trillium, bloodroot or lady slipper in a plastic bag for about $1.99. We sell off our environment cheap here in US.

    By the way, although it was not asked: the term "nursery grown" means a plant was dug from the wild, placed in pot or bag and temporarily held at a nursery before sale (you will see this term at Lowes concerning wildflowers). Only the term "nursery propagated" means a plant was created from seed, cutting or division without harming wild stocks.

    Sorry for the rant - it's just that I see this topic so often on this forum.