Saturday, December 13, 2014

Scott Persons, Author of American Ginseng Green Gold, Explains Why He Wanted Other Herbs Covered in the New Book

The other day an older man who has been a 'sang hunter and grower for over forty years asked me why Scott Persons would want to change what he considered to be the most perfect book on growing ginseng that ever existed as he held his well-worn copy of American Ginseng: Green Gold. He was referring to the book that Scott and I coauthored together. I was a little offended until I asked him if he had read the newer book. He said no, you can't improve on perfect so he had no intention of reading the newer book.

Scott Persons is a beloved authority on growing ginseng, speaking and consulting on the topic around the world. He is a humble, soft-spoken man who has earned the respect and affection of many people in the ginseng trade. His book, American Ginseng: Green Gold, is often referred to as the bible on the topic. So why did he team up with a co-author to write a second book? I did a post on a similar topic this past summer, but here Scott explains it himself in Preface I of the first version of Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals:

 “When I realized that my old book, American Ginseng: Green Gold, was rapidly becoming outdated and that a new book was needed, I thought that many of my potential readers would be interested in practical, detailed information and instruction on growing other valuable native woodland medicinal herbs-other species of green gold-as well as ginseng. I asked Dr. Jeanine Davis to be a co-author and cover the additional material. Dr. Davis and I have interacted professionally for many years. I grow American ginseng and a little goldenseal on wooded hillsides in western North Carolina at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountians. Dr. Davis is a professor at North Carolina State University’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, where she conducts research on a wide variety of native woodland botanicals. Dr. Davis works only about an hour’s drive northeast of me, and we often share information, and sometimes we find ourselves speaking at the same conferences-I on woodland ginseng production and she on the cultivation of goldenseal, ramps, and other native herbs. Our approaches to small-scale farming and our advice to prospective growers are similar and compatible.
                There is a great deal of material available, both in print and on the Internet that discusees growing woodland botanicals. Some of the information is excellent, but a significant chunk is partial disinformation. It is often not based on sound research-or even on more than one grower’s experience-and profitability is not forthrighthly assessed. Cultivating native woodland medicinal herbs in a sustainable manner is often advocated primarily as an enjoyable, even noble, activity. Of course, it is a noble and enjoyable activity (or it can be), but Dr. Davis and I have a more hard-core point of view: We are interested in using best management practices and in turning a profit.”

That quote is from the 2005 version of our book. We completely revised and updated the book in 2014. You can purchase it through this blog, local independent bookstores, and all the major on-line booksellers. It is available in paperback and as an ebook.

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