The heat has been very hard on ginger crops this year. Many folks have had a decrease in production from the extreme temperatures. Higher soil or media temperatures during the beginning of the season (sustained temps over 90F for days on end) can cause ginger to send up many, many shoots from the seed piece. This causes a decrease in yields. Equate this to a tomato producing lots of small, poor quality fruit, instead of the choice few fruits with peak flavor, size, and disease resistance.
That being said, we are still seeing some nice harvests of ginger this season. The temps cooled down enough to let canopy get established to shade the root zone. Some folks used their watering regime to cool soil in the early afternoon heat. Lots of folks use shade cloth or the shade of tree canopy to keep soil temps lower. Ginger is very shade tolerant so it is an excellent tool to keeping soil temperature between 70-90F.
Take a look at the pictures below to glimpse some of the harvests. I suggest starting to harvest and market now because the baby ginger will only get bigger from here until about 4-6 weeks from now when it starts to form a delicate skin. Your customers will enjoy using the ginger as it grows bigger and changes in flavor and texture.
Selling and marketing baby ginger all depends upon your market outlet. Many folks ask how to price and market this time of year and here are my suggestions:
- You know your market best! Should you sell by pound or per piece?
- Pricing for farmers' markets last season ranged from $7-22 per pound.
- The average price per pound was about $12 per pound.
- If you sell per piece: pick a price per pound that you would like to achieve, break up and weigh the pieces and sell them at a set price per piece at market. Example: $16 per pound price goal... Sell approximately 2 ounce pieces for $2 per piece.
- Wholesale markets may prefer hands left whole rather than breaking fingers apart.
- Marketing ideas: leave small portions of lower stem on for a very attractive look at market and a built in handle!
- More marketing ideas: Display a whole hand at market with full foliage left on top. Not many folks know what a whole ginger plant looks like! It will attract people to your stall, at the very least...
- You know your market best and how to price your products.
Thank you all for your interest in growing ginger. And as usual, please send pictures or your ginger if you get a chance. Any and all questions or feedback that you have are welcome and will help us grow this unique crop more successfully in the seasons to come.
East Branch Ginger