SPICE OF LIFE
GINGER, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE. ONE COAST FARMER SHARES THE STORY OF HOW AN ASIAN SPECIALITY DEFINED HIS FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS
It was the early 1940s when Shane Templeton’s grandparents first tried their hands at growing ginger on the Sunshine Coast.
Until then, most ginger in the region had been imported from China, making the Templetons one of the first Australian farmers to commercially produce the Asian spice. Shane’s grandparents were also some of the first members to join the Buderim Ginger Grower’s Cooperative, and the farm still supplies Buderim Ginger today.
Shane’s childhood was spent on the farm, and in 1991 he started working for the family business full-time to become a third-generation ginger farmer.
“During the school holidays, we would get out and help on the farm doing ginger picking or cutting seed up. There was always something to do,” Shane said.
Today, Templeton Ginger produces about 2500-3000 tonnes of ginger a year, and with demand showing no sign of slowing down, Shane will share his family’s story as part of the Sunshine Coast’s newest food festival – The Curated Plate – this month.
The Curated Plate is a food festival with a difference. Instead of being based in just one location, the festival – running from August 5-18 – is being staged across the region, with a series of events sharing the region’s food
stories and celebrating the relationship between chef and producer.
The Ginger Journey: From Farmer to Your Plate event will be held at The Ginger Factory on August 9. Shane will share the rich and colourful story of ginger from harvest through to table, while diners enjoy a two-course ginger-inspired lunch prepared by Sydney chef Mischa Cleland.
“People are always interested in the story of where their food comes from,” Shane said.
“I like to share the story of my family and the history of my family within the industry.
“We’re still a family-owned enterprise on the Coast and I would like to impart to people what’s done and the work that’s involved so people get a better appreciation of what we’re trying to do.”
Shane credits the Sunshine Coast’s sub-tropical climate, red soils and good rainfall for successful ginger farming. The family operates three farms in Eumundi, Gympie and Maryborough, and plants about 60ha each spring.
The ginger is then harvested for 52 weeks of the year for the fresh market.
“We’ve got two varieties: one we use for processing as it’s a little bit smaller and has more of a lemon citrus taste. It’s called Queensland Ginger,” Shane said.
“Then we have the Jumbo Ginger, which is larger in size, and suits the fresh market as it’s big, it’s beautiful and it presents really well.”
Going forward, Shane would like to see Templeton Ginger remain family owned and operated and maintain a sustainable farming operation.
“We’ve got to be financially viable, but also environmentally viable, and I try to look at the whole lot and run a good, sustainable business,” he said.
There’s no better venue than The Ginger Factory to experience the rich diversity of ginger and its contribution to food, health products and the garden.
You can meet Shane at The Curated Plate food festival’s The Ginger Journey: From Farmer to Your Plate event on August 9 at The Ginger Factory. Buy tickets at www.thecuratedplate.com.au.
SWEET SIDE: Shane Templeton, of Templeton Ginger in Eumundi, is a third-generation ginger farmer.