American ginseng is a native North American wildflower with a multitude of health benefits. Catskill Mountain ginseng is considered the finest in the world. It is well recognized in Hong Kong and China. And very soon it will be readily available in Greene County, thanks to the passion and perseverance of renowned natural resource expert Bob Beyfuss, owner of “Green Envy Farm” in Freehold, NY.
Beyfuss retired in 2009 after a 32 year career with Cornell Cooperative Extension, and is currently the vice president of Bounty America Pharm, headquartered in Santa Ana, CA. The company specializes in ginseng. “Our company owns or leases 520 acres of forested land in Greene and Delaware Counties,” explained Beyfuss, noting that 400 of those acres are in Greene County. “We also lease 28 acres of open creek side land in Greene County, in the town of Cairo, where we grow Chinese medicinal herbs.”
Right now they have 28 employees, including part- and full-time workers. Almost all of the workers are Greene County residents, Beyfuss noted, with a few from Delaware, Columbia and Albany counties. They also try to utilize local businesses for all supplies and equipment.
Plans include a retail store and “tea bar,” where they company will sell herbal-based products and specialty items such as homemade artisan cheeses made with locally purchased cow and goat milk, as well as an educational center offering classes.
“We plan to utilize our farming operations for most of the raw materials in these products and make them in the facility,” Beyfuss explained. “These would include teas and soaps made from our Echinacea, Chinese herbs and Ginseng leaves. We would like to utilize the existing bar to install a tea bar featuring our own, homemade blends of herbal and medicinal teas.”