About What We Do

Ottercreek Farms Limited

Ottercreek Farms Limited and its predecessors have been involved in the cultivation and marketing of very high quality North American Ginseng for over 20 years. Quality control is maintained through all phases of seed production, planning, growth, harvesting, and packaging.

Our home of Tillsonburg was previously a farming community ruled by the Tobacco industry due to the rich sandy soil and warm climate. We have been in farming for generations, and take pride in our product.

Our farmer, Glen Gilvesy, dedicates his time to ensuring not only the Ginseng grown on our farm, but also across the region, is produced at the highest quality it can be. Glen currently holds the Vice Chair position at the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association. To learn more about this association’s mission, please follow the following link:

History of Ginseng

Ginseng was discovered more than 5,000 years ago in the mountain provinces of Manchuria. It was first used as a food and later for its strength-giving and rejuvenating properties. In asian medicine, ginseng has been used for over 2,000 years to replenish energy, build resistance, reduce susceptibility to illness and promote health and longevity.

North American Ginseng was an important medicine for the people of the First Nations and was used in a number of different ways such as a tonic to strengthen mental abilities and to increase fertility. Since the 18th century, North American Ginseng has been primarily exported to Asia where it is highly valued for its perceived superior quality and sweeter taste.

North American and Asian Ginseng differ in their chemical composition and each appears to have distinct effects. From a traditional medicine point of view, these two types of ginsengs are thought to be complimentary. For example, the Chinese perceive North American Ginseng to be more yin – meaning it is used to reduce “heat” in the body. In comparison, Asian Ginseng is thought to be more yang – meaning it is used to raise “heat” in the body. Heat, in the context of traditional Chinese medicine, does not have the same connotation as it does in North America.

Ontario is the largest producer of Panax quinquefolius in North America. The ginseng industry began here in 1704 when Jesuit priests discovered the root growing wild. Since then, Ontario producers have set the gold standard in production and research. The clean water and minimal pollution of southwestern Ontario help to ensure the high quality of Ontario’s ginseng. Ongoing research enables growers to use biological controls; and recent disease control research has led to the identification of products that will not only reduce the risk of disease in North America Ginseng, but will reduce the environmental risk as well, ensuring agriculture is sustainable in the future.