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Michael Farrar and Emma Worthington

*This article was reproduced by a Courier Mail article by Sharnee Rawson on 22 April 2014.

Ginger farming, teaching scientific research methods and managing rock band tours is all in day's work for Michael Farrar, who started a chemical-free ginger plantation at his property in Landsborough at the urging of friends.  "It's only a small boutique farm, on about half an acre," he said.

"Crop rotation is a huge part of our disease and control strategy and, given we're on a small parcel of land, we can't produce too much."

The farm, now in its fifth year, will filed and even smaller crop than usual due to dry conditions.  But recent rain has ensured the plants will be top quality. "Ginger is a year-long project. You plant in late winter, early spring and the main growing happens through the summer, when the plants get all the sunshine and water.

"About March-April, the ginger is in the latter stages of growing and starting to fatten up.  We're picking the enw season ginger now and then, in late June, you end up with that classic golden ginger that they call old season."  Michael's partner, Emma Worthington juggles part-time farming with studying at the Sunshine Coast and working at Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside.  She said new-season ginger, with its thin skin and peach-coloured markeings has a fresher taste, which makes it ideal for making tea.

"The new-season ginger is really easy to grate and cut.  We grate it straight into hot water to make tea and it's great for pickling," she said.  "Old season ginger is more intense and hot.  We use it for stirfries and make candy ginger for Christmas presents."

If he does expand the farm, Michael said other rhizomes such as turmeric and galangal would be next.  "It's just baby steps at the moment.  We're also looking at doing a collaborative ginger research project on the farm, but I can't say too much yet."

Food Connect is Michael and Emma's main distributor, and we're happy to be supporting these wonderful, young farmers.

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