The Lanark Ginseng Company?



PHOTO FROM The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

In the early 1900s Walter J Robinson conceived the idea of growing ginseng under cultivation. After an exhaustive examination into the project he became convinced the Lanark soil and climate would be ideal to the growing of Ginseng as wild Ginseng had been already found throughout the vast hardwood forests of Lanark County.

So Mr. Roberston prepared a corner of his garden, bought an assortment of  seeds and roots, and began his career as a Ginsengist and people thought he was a bit crazy. When fall came  along the next year the plants reddened and grew beautiful. The garden was one acre and one quarter would be planted with Ginseng, and in September and October the berries would become vibrant red.

The large brilliant bunch of berries projecting so brilliantly attracted much attention from the locals. But, then there were the questions as to the use and commercial value of the plant.  Out of this rose The Ginseng Gardens and Mr. Roberston became manager, C. M. Forbes secretary, and the other members of the company were:

Mell T. Watt

James N. Dobbie

Robert Wilson

They had initially invested a capital of $2500. The market was paying $6.00 a pound and the worth of one acre was $50,000 and the roots were shipped to China where the media said 400 million were addicted to its use. However, there were many locally who doubted its future existence.  But some said there should be no fear as tobacco and tea were still on the rise. Robertson insisted those who got in on the ground level would be rewarded. Anyone in Lanark County deciding to grow Ginseng was advised to contact the company for information.



About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. Any more info on this? Such as how long was the farm in operation? Have been wanting to grow ginseng on my land in north Frontenac but all my research says it takes years to produce a root with enough active ingredient.


    Sent from my iPad



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