Our experiment with growing ginger is just one example of how urban farms can be hot beds of innovation; pioneering new sustainable growing techniques, developing novel crops, and testing new markets.
By Matt Kauffman
October 20, 2016
Being a tropical plant, growing local sources of ginger in Buffalo is going to include significant challenges. Nonetheless, last year, 5 Loaves Farm was the first farm in WNY to bring local ginger to market. Our “baby ginger” was grown in our hoop houses, right here on the West Side of Buffalo! This year a number of other growers are now trying it out, and our local sources of ginger are growing…
Ginger needs about a 10 month long frost-free period to be able to produce the large roots with the brown papery covering that allows them to store for long periods of time. In Buffalo, even starting the sprouts indoors in March, and moving them into hot houses all summer long, we still are a few months short of growing fully mature ginger root. So, the ginger we bring to market is “baby ginger”. Instead of having a brown papery coating, it is white or pink, and there is no need to peel it when cooking with it. The flavor can be somewhat stronger as well, if used fresh. It does, however, need to be used up within a couple weeks, or frozen to preserve it. It can be used just as regular ginger root in recipes, but is most often used to make pickled ginger, like the kind you find accompanying your sushi rolls.