Foraging for Wild Ginseng in the mountains of Appalachia is better known to many than other Non-timber Forest Products. I started learning about this amazing plant only a couple of years ago and was immediately intrigued. I was surprised that this highly valued, highly sot after plant was in the mountains of my home state and that I had never tried to find it. I had never actually seen a Ginseng plant in the wild before. Growing up in West Virginia, I had heard stories from friends about going out and looking for Ginseng with friends and family. For many families, Ginseng Hunting is a tradition that gets pasted down through the generations. As a newer dad, creating activities that instill pride and appreciation of our Appalachian Home is very important to me. So, during the Pandemic in 2020, my family and I decided to give searching for the illusive plant a try. To our surprise, our first trip produced one, old 4-prong plant that was nestled on a remote hillside. It is amazing how beautiful these plants are and how hard they are to find for unexperienced foragers. The subsequent trips did not yield any results, but over time we got better and toward the end of the season we found some additional plants on our family farm. In early 2021, we released the Ginsito Mojito Mix that is made from the Ginseng leaves and roots of the plants we harvested. We wanted to create something that utilized both the root and leaves, to help with the sustainability of the plant and to curb overharvesting. The Ginsito is an Appalachian take on a Mojito Mix and combines well with sparkling soda and ciders (in addition to a traditional Mojito recipe).
The 2021 Season was lots of fun and has resulted in some beautiful plants. Our skills have improved, and we got to spend some beautiful days in the mountains. We are excited for the next batch of Ginsito to be made in January of this year. For now, we only have a few bottles of Ginsito left so if you want to give it a try, you will have to purchase fast!