Appalachian Outlaws – Deep in Appalachia, there’s a war brewing over an ancient crop valued at $600 a pound. Supply can’t keep up with demand and it’s causing fierce competition inside and outside the law. This mountain gold is ginseng, and there’s a frenzied race to harvest it during its short two-month season.
This series follows a set of unique characters in their quest to acquire and fight for this plant that affords many their livelihood. From diggers to growers to middlemen, every day is a matter of survival in a trade where people will do just about anything to get their hands on this rare root.
Whoever controls the ginseng, controls the mountains. People will steal it, risk jail time and even their lives to get their hands on it. Over-harvesting in Asia has increased demand, pushing prices to an all-time high, and people are rushing to cash in. It so happens the Appalachian Mountains have just the right elevation, rainfall and mineral-rich soil to produce the best wild ginseng in the world, but it’s only legal for digging from the end of summer until the first frost. To prevent over-harvesting in the U.S., some states have started regulating where it’s legal to pull ginseng, which has made territorial lines even blurrier than before. And with ginseng fever heating up, outsiders are creeping in on local’s territory to find it, causing massive turf wars over this heavily revered root.
Producer: Original Productions
TX: 9th January 2014
Source: History press release