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Growing ginger

By Sarah Fritschner from August 2013 Issue

Growing ginger

Credit: Paul Wiediger

Alison Wiediger

Alison Wiediger, and husband, Paul, farm on 84 acres called Au Naturel Farm in Edmonson County and are members of Warren RECC. They have been farming without chemicals since 1974. And they have long been fans of growing crops in hoop houses, a half-round shaped greenhouse with no forced ventilation and no heat, built with steel framing and a plastic cover that extends seasons.

The Wiedigers grow 2 acres of produce for the SKY Farmers Market in Bowling Green, but a few years ago started a test site for growing fresh ginger root—the long, knobby product you see in supermarkets, usually imported from Hawaii and other tropical locations. When dried, it produces the spicy, yellowish powder that adds its name to cakes and cookies.

The Wiedigers planted a 90-foot row this year and expect to harvest 500 pounds of ginger starting in September. Alison sells young ginger at the market for $9 per pound, and sells the later winter harvest (which has the brown skin common on supermarket ginger) in December to Grasshoppers Distribution in Louisville.

In addition to fresh produce from their farm, Alison sells bread and scones she bakes in the farm's certified kitchen. Scones are a biscuit-like breakfast bread believed to have originated in Scotland.

Alison's ginger scones are made with both grated fresh ginger and her own candied ginger. She says she sells 10-12 dozen scones a day (not always ginger ones) for about $2 each.

The SKY Farmers Market is at Fifth and High streets in Bowling Green. It's open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April through October. For more information, go online to www.skyfarmersmarket.com.


ALISON'S DOUBLE GINGER SCONES

8 C flour
2/3 C sugar
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 C butter
2 C candied ginger, chopped 1/4"
1 lb fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped (in blender or food processor)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 C plain yogurt
1/4 C cream

Preheat oven to 375° and place rack in middle of oven. Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with pastry blender. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped and grated ginger. Beat vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. (You want a dough that is soft but not sticky, so you may not need all the yogurt mixture, or you may need to add a little water.) Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead four or five times. Separate dough into four balls. Pat one dough ball into a circle about 9 inches round. Cut into six pie-shaped pieces. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with a little cream. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 dozen.


SLIME-FREE OKRA

Grilling okra makes it taste great and slime-free

Grilled okra
Recipe by Sarah Fritschner

1 lb fresh okra
1-2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1⁄2 tsp salt

Heat the grill to high. Put okra in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. When the grill is hot, spread the okra over the heat. Close the lid. Cook 4 minutes, or until the down side is slightly charred. Use tongs to turn the pods and cook 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove to plates and serve immediately. (Or for hors d'oeuvres, you can place them stem up in short drinking glasses and serve at room temperature.) Serves 3-4.


SARAH FRITSCHNER coordinates Louisville Farm to Table, a program bringing more Kentucky-grown food into local homes, restaurants, and institutions.