SPICE OF LIFE

GINGER, SPICE AND EV­ERY­THING NICE. ONE COAST FARMER SHARES THE STORY OF HOW AN ASIAN SPE­CIAL­ITY DEFINED HIS FAM­ILY FOR GEN­ER­A­TIONS

Life & Style Weekend - - COVER STORY -

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.

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

SWEET SIDE: Shane Tem­ple­ton, of Tem­ple­ton Ginger in Eu­mundi, is a third-gen­er­a­tion ginger farmer.

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