1.16.2014

GINGER // the local food report


The surprises are what make my work interesting. I went to talk with Stan about turkeys, but I found him in the greenhouse weeding ginger. I knew people were growing it—people in Maine and people in Western Massachusetts—but I had no idea locally grown ginger was happening here, in our long sliver of the state.

It is. Stan started two years ago, after digging for small nubs at the grocery store. He planted these nubs—small pieces of the regular old ginger you buy—in small pots in February or March. They were in a greenhouse, a space that never went below 50 degrees F at night at got up to maybe 75 or 80 on sunny days. Some took a month to sprout, others six weeks. But they almost all did. He transplanted them to the greenhouse floor, and eight months later, that up there is what they looked like—a lush, tropical row of green.

The roots that peek out underneath look like the roots my mom bought in Maine—same shape and size as what you'd find at the grocery store, but less mature. Instead of the tough brown skin, it's white blushed with pink.


It's beautiful. Stan says his wife likes to use it for fresh ginger tea. When I get a cold I always use fresh ginger to make a hot remedy—lemon juice and garlic and honey and fresh ginger with hot water poured over top. Usually, I buy the ginger at the store. But next month I'm thinking of planting my own. Stan says all you need is a wide, shallow pot, a ginger nub from the store, some rich soil that drains well, and a sunny window.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.