Those who have summered in Long Island have surely driven past Green Thumb Farm. It's located on the busy Montauk Highway that cuts through the Hamptons.
On a warm summer day, I visited an old college buddy of mine, Ray, and his 500-year family farm - Green Thumb - to learn more about organic farming and how he is growing organic turmeric and ginger in New York!
The farm began in the 1600's in Long Island and was cultivated with the help of Native Americans.
The land was originally dedicated to a wholesale potato business. Ray Senior, the 9th generation owner, was getting tired of dealing with wholesale and one afternoon, while sitting on his tractor by the side of the road, realized he could sell directly from his farm! So he opened what we call today a "farm stand." It was a success. And this lead to the farm growing much more than just potatoes.
Then in the 70's, Ray Senior's daughter, Patti, was away at college, when she began hearing and learning about the organic food movement; this invoked interest in trying it out on their own farm.
Ray Senior was open to the idea but was not ready to make a full transition, until one day he experienced a chemical spill and became very ill. This catalyzed change. And since that day, the farm has been fully organic and became certified organic in 1989.
[Fun Fact: They use marigold's as a natural bug repellent for the plants!]
Over the last few years, Green Thumb Farm has been growing organic ginger and turmeric in their Greenhouse in Long Island, NY.
They buy organic ginger and turmeric seeds from Hawaii. In the late months of winter, they plant these seeds in a thin layer of soil and provide additional heat through heat mats to keep the temperature consistent.
Then, in the Spring, once the tubers begin to send up stalks and leaves, they transfer the roots to another greenhouse. They plant these tubers into the ground with no additional heat. Then in Fall, the Ginger and Turmeric is harvested, available at the Farm Stand, and ready for consumption!
Ginger and Turmeric are typically grown in warm, tropical places like Peru, Hawaii or Thailand. So to see these roots harvested in New York is a magical thing!
Green Thumb farm sells organic ginger and turmeric from October - December. And if you're on the go and would like something already made - they also sell Monfefo!
Want more than just roots? GreenThumb Farm also grows the most amazing organic veggies and fruits around!
[Stay tuned for our next post on our meal that night.]
So next time you are driving down Montauk Highway, go and say hi to Ray, and if Ray is not there don't worry, someone from his family farm is bound to be there to greet you with a smile! Like Patti, Jo, Billy, Larry, Sammy, Jesse, Maddy, Peachie or the 4 other highly invested team members!
And also say hey to their very cute donkeys!
That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the read.
Cheers and stay groovy,
Justine and the Monfefo Team