The New Zealand ginseng industry started small with the initial seeds imported in the early 1970's. The initial importation led to the establishment of a series of small-scale research trials conducted by Plant and Food Research.
In the early 2000's, the first ginseng plants were grown on a commercial scale by Dr Jay Lee.
THE HOLIDAY THAT STARTED IT ALL
In the late 2000's Glen Chen holidayed in New Zealand from China. He fell in love with the place and decided to make New Zealand home.
Glen extended his stay by exploring business opportunities in New Zealand. He researched over 50 different investment options. As the shortlist grew shorter, one particular investment stood out. Ginseng, a plant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years has the great fortune of finding a perfect growing environment under pine forests in New Zealand’s central North Island.
He says that his extended family in China would take ginseng every autumn and winter to provide health benefits and immunity throughout the entire year.
In 2008, Glen partnered with Jay and began growing ginseng.
It has not been an easy or straightforward path. As an industry pioneer with no other forest-grown ginseng operations to learn from, Glen has had to learn almost everything from scratch - site selection, sowing, growing, harvesting and product development.
In 2014, Jay sold the ginseng plants to Glen and KiwiSeng becomes the largest owner of ginseng plantations in New Zealand.
For Glen, it's been an investment that he is rightfully proud of. He is not just passionate about ginseng's opportunities for human health - he wants to be part of establishing ginseng as a major industry in New Zealand.
UNDER THE MOUNTAIN
KiwiSeng has ginseng plants growing under 100 hectares of pine forests in the Central North Island. The altitude, cold winters, light and shade conditions and warm dry summers are nearly identical to ginseng’s traditional growing range in China and Korea. The added benefit of New Zealand is the uniformly managed forests, high UV light conditions and light fertile volcanic soils.
All of these conditions mean that our ginseng is naturally high in ginsenosides – the active ingredients that give ginseng its healthful properties.