Savoring the seasons: It’s all in the spices

Published: 10/11/2016 5:10:42 PM

Do you know that local farmers are growing ginger here in Franklin County?
Yes, local farmers use greenhouses to start the plants early in the year and to keep them warm enough to grow those tasty roots. They harvest it late in the summer, instead of letting it grow through two seasons, as they do in tropical areas where it is grown. The fresh ginger you’ll find at Lyonsville Farm’s booth and other booths at the Greenfield Farmers Market and at Green Fields Market (and other farmers markets and farm stores) is young ginger that has a white-pinkish thin outer layer, instead of the tougher light brown outside of older ginger.

What’s it taste like? Superb, gingery, perhaps a bit less intense than the older form. Perfect for all forms of cooking, anything that calls for fresh ginger. Rick Miller shared an enhanced-by-many-spices cauliflower soup recipe that uses fresh ginger.

I’m exploring ginger possibilities, putting thin slices in chicken salad (really puts the WOW in lunch), adding it to my morning oatmeal. It’s definitely going in my next squash soup and next batch of fresh applesauce.

I’m freezing some in a plastic bag, so this winter I can pull it out and grate frozen ginger into whatever recipe I’m making.

I bought ginger greens at the Hart Farm booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market and am using them to make tea. I also chopped some in to a chicken-leeks-greens-sweet potato soup I made along with slices of ginger. I used chicken from the Greenfield Farmers Market booth of Eden Pond Farm from Bernardston. They’re a great source of locally raised chicken, as are Diemand Farm in Wendell, Uppingil Farm store and other farms. Visit CISA’s website to find more farms that raise meat chickens and grow ginger.

How are you using ginger and other spices to enliven your meals?

This Week We’re Eating…

Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Shared by Rick Miller, Greenfield, from

2 T. olive or peanut oil

tsp. whole cumin seeds

tsp. whole fennel seeds

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and chopped

2 tsp. peeled and chopped fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 fresh hot green chili, chopped (more or less to taste)

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cumin

tsp. ground turmeric

tsp. red chili powder or cayenne (to taste)

About 3 cup cauliflower florets (from about half a large head)

2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes

1 tsp. salt, or to taste

To finish (all optional)

A couple spoonfuls heavy cream or dollops of yogurt

cup cooked basmati or other long-grain white rice

Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Black pepper

Lime wedges

Toasted pita or naan wedges

Heat oil in bottom of 4- to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and a few seconds later, fennel seeds. Pause two seconds and then add onions and potatoes. Stir and sauté for five minutes. Add ginger, garlic and green chiles and stir for one minute more. Turn heat to medium low and add ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper. Stir for one minute. Add cauliflower, tomatoes and salt and stir for one minute. Add 4 cups water, stir, and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower heat again, and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Let soup cool slightly, then blend it to desired texture. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Ladle into bowls and add dollop of yogurt or tiny swirl heavy cream, if desired. Squeeze lime juice over, add a few grinds of black pepper and place 2 T. cooked rice to center of each bowl. Scatter with cilantro and serve with pita wedges on side, if desired. Dig in.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals, and writer/editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to


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