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Marathon Co. restaurants celebrate Ginseng Week with unique dishes
WAUSAU - Wisconsin produces 90 to 95 percent of all the ginseng in the whole country. 

Ninety-five percent of that crop is grown in Marathon County, according to the Wisconsin DATCP.

This week Marathon County celebrated by inviting people to try different dishes made with ginseng at local restaurants as part of Ginseng Week. 

La Prima in Wausau is one of the restaurants that is taking part in Ginseng Week. 

"The entrĂ©e with the salmon is something we make [already]. The ginger and ginseng just seemed a natural fit," said La Prima owner Rollie Thomas. 

La Prima is also making pumpkin ginseng muffins and coffee cake, as well as a ginseng infused latte. 

The restaurants taking part in Ginseng Week are showing people how the root can be used in everyday food. 

"By asking the restaurants to get involved, it gives people an idea of how to use ginseng in their own cooking and just get a taste of how that flavor gets incorporated into cuisine in other parts of the world," said Visit Wausau sales and events manager Carly Hanney. 

It was such a popular idea that The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. in Wausau already sold out of its ginseng dishes. 

"We had a Chinese herbal chicken soup," said Great Dane General Manager Ryan Pecha. "People liked it. It was an interesting thing to offer for the week."

The ginseng was given to restaurants like The Great Dane and La Prima by the Ginseng and Herb Co-Op in Marathon County. 

The week not only celebrates ginseng production, it adds a little something extra for people to enjoy in their dishes. 

"It's not like the taste is real strong, but you just feel a little extra pick me up," said Thomas. 

If you've had any of the dishes at each restaurant, you can vote for your favorite on the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival Facebook page.

Ginseng Week runs until Saturday.  

Story By: Rose McBride


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