Coming to a market near you: Local ginger

It’s better when freshly harvested

When the warm weather dissipates, farmers begin to fill their market stalls with hardy root vegetables: turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, winter radishes. But this year, customers can also find an exotic tuber among the local mix: fresh ginger.

Much of the knobby ginger sold in the United States is imported from Brazil, China, Thailand, and Central America. Last spring, though, Dave Bentoski—the d in D&A Farm—planted a little ginger, just to see how it would do. It flourished, both in the ground and at his stands at Morningside and Marietta farmers markets, so this year he doubled his planting. Ginger, a rhizome (or underground stem), is essential in many global cuisines. The thin skin of freshly harvested ginger can be peeled off with your fingers or a spoon. “The roots in the store, they’re almost desiccated,” says Bentoski. “And these things, they’re juicy, and spicy, and so potent.”

Stellar growers Love Is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens also planted ginger this year; find them at East Atlanta Village Farmers Market on Thursdays.