The News from Windflower Farm
Hello from Windflower Farm, where cold fall weather has arrived in earnest and we are celebrating the end of the farming season!
What’s in your share?
- Garlic (2 large bulbs)
- Ginger root
- Mustard mix
- Red Russian kale
- Sweet potatoes
- Eggplants or red cabbage
This week’s share is the last of the regular season. Thank you very much for being with us. The farm team and I hope that you’ve enjoyed your CSA experience.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to the members of the core group in your neighborhood whose commitment make this CSA possible. I cannot express how much I appreciate their efforts to build community and help safeguard a small Hudson Valley farm and its people.
Nate, our oldest son, was in the first grade when we purchased our farm twenty-two years ago. He now works with Jan and me, side by side. A note from him about ginger follows.
Take care and stay in touch, Ted
What’s new on the farm?
Hello! This is Nate with a note about the ginger in your shares.
We started growing ginger a few years ago, inspired by our friend Sue at Blue Star Farm. We order ginger seed stock from a farm on Hawaii’s Big Island, called Hawaii Clean Seed, also known as Puna Organics or Biker Dude. They say they live with the chaos of Pele, the volcano goddess. In 2018, the eruption of Kilauea brought them months of ash cloud, and lava to within a mile of their plantings. There was damage to their turmeric crop, and many days spent in what Biker Dude calls a “Trial by Fire,” but for the most part they were unharmed and undeterred. Since then, they’ve expanded their operation, but as demand for their stock has grown they’ve been importing from Peru, and so this year (and last year) we’ve been planting Peruvian Yellow Ginger. This variety has been doing well here.
The part of ginger usually used for eating is a rhizome, a below-ground horizontal stem with nodes that send out roots and leaves. A next generation of rhizome forms by budding in the following year, after a period of dormancy. One of these winters we may experiment with keeping a portion of our crop in dormancy, to see if we can produce our own seed stock next year. The challenge seems to be keeping them just warm and dry enough and preventing diseases.
Your ginger arrived on the farm in mid-March, as cut pieces of dormant rhizome. Daren and Connor helped me pot these in a soil mix on heated benches in the greenhouse, where they were kept to germinate over two to three months, producing shoots up to two feet high by June. The Medina family then transplanted them into a caterpillar tunnel and a low tunnel in the field. The Medinas also did an early season weeding, and I did a later weeding. In previous years I’ve added compost and hilled the soil, but did not this year and they seem to have fared fine without. We usually harvest in early October, using pitch forks to pry them loose, shaking off dirt, clipping roots and leaves, and washing not too long before delivery. As I write, the harvest sits in crates outside being rain-washed.
In our experience, the fresh ginger isn’t quite as spicy as the more aged ginger you would find at a grocery store, so you may want to use more in a recipe. It also does not store long, shriveling if unrefrigerated, and becoming rubbery after a week or so, so if you aren’t able to use it soon we recommend grating and freezing it, or, if you have use of a dehydrator, Victoria recommends dehydrating it and making it into a powder.
Apart from being enjoyed as spice, ginger has a good reputation for its health effects. The Herbal Medicine publication from the NIH tells us ginger helps inhibit oxidative damage, inflammation, nausea, cancer, and other ailments. It has been cultivated and used for over 5000 years, possibly originating around India and China.
It is fun to welcome a part of the tropics to the farm, and we hope you enjoy eating it!
Best wishes, Nate