We love supporting Australian farmers at Good & Fugly. Australia grows some of the finest produce in the world, and we grow just about everything. No matter what your palette or favourite type of cuisine, you can enjoy it fresh and wholesome directly from local growers.
We wanted to share with you a special interview with one of our favourite farmers this week. Farmers Michi and Aidan are responsible for the ginger you find in your veggie boxes (and, we hope, soon some honey too!). There’s so much more to growing ginger than you might think. If you’ve ever wondered about just how it’s done, we’ve got a must-read interview for you.
Enjoy, and remember that every box of Good & Fugly directly supports the incredible work of people like Michi and Aidan.
Ginger – It Adds Spice To Everything And Australia Grows The Best Of It!
What would life be without ginger? This humble and always fugly root adds spice to dip, makes tea flavourful and wholesome, elevates simple proteins like chicken to become a flavour sensation and adds the X factor to just about any Asian cuisine you turn your hand to.
It’s also one of the most potent superfoods nature gives us, helping with everything from regulating digestion to overcoming flight sickness, recovering from muscle cramps and arthritis pain to fighting back against cancer.
You’ll often find a good chunk of ginger in your Good & Fugly boxes. This week we have a special interview with one of our incredible growers, Certified Organic farmers Michi and Aidan, who have truly elevated growing the root to an art form.
What encouraged you to work with Good & Fugly in the first place?
We discovered Good & Fugly through social media and thought it was a really great initiative to save produce that so much work and effort had been invested into. It’s a difficult feeling to have produce that is ready for households and packed full of flavour but be unable to get it to them. On that basis, we got in touch and we’ve been working with Good & Fugly ever since.
What have been the highlights in working with Good & Fugly?
It was so much more than simply finding produce a home that would otherwise be thrown out. The passion of the co-founders, Rich and Jonathan, has always come through strongly. They clearly have an authentic belief in farmers and in the value of food. They also truly appreciate the work that you put into growing something. They don't try and bargain you down to bottom prices. They value you as a farmer and understand the worth of the food that you're growing. It really touched our hearts and it's just been a great experience working with others who care like we do.
Would you say that Australians are aware of the kind of challenges that farmers go through just as a whole?
No, it’s not something that people should feel guilty about, but there’s so much more that we can do to help people really connect with the reality of who grows your food. When you actually get to see the face of someone who's growing food and they’ve lost an entire crop in a hailstorm, or have had to run down to the dam to start the pump five times in a day, or when the tractor has broken down and you have to learn how to fix it in the field from YouTube, it really strikes home what is involved in this work.
A farmer is not just a farmer. Farming is complex, you need to be resourceful across so many areas. We develop an understanding of the weather and seasons, and it’s all in service of growing the best-tasting and wholesome produce that we can. It’s so much more than driving a tractor and planting seeds. That’s why we all take it to heart. We want to produce good food and share it. We want to get as much produce into as many houses and onto as many plates as possible.
In a ballpark figure, how much produce have you saved through Good & Fugly that would otherwise have been thrown into landfill?
It’s about 100 kilos a month that over a year we wouldn't have been able to sell or we would have had to try to find other avenues to sell. That would have taken us a lot of time and energy. Over a year, it all adds up.
We run a small-scale Certified Organic farm. We can only grow as much as the landscape allows. With Good and Fugly, small-scale farming is more efficient at managing its crop losses. The challenge we have is with finding a market for our offcuts. The supermarkets and bigger buyers only like the larger pieces of ginger. So, when you're going through the process of harvesting and packing, you're cutting off the smaller pieces that don't quite fit the scale that they're after… that adds up to a significant percentage if you have to discard it.
What was the appeal of growing ginger?
It was largely dictated by our property. We live in the subtropics, and we're in a bit of a hilly area, which lends itself to certain types of farming. So we looked at which crops would work with our lifestyle and ginger turned out to be the perfect crop.
Since then we also had a friend set up some bee hives, and once we opened them up, we really got hooked. They’re fascinating creatures, and are a great use of the space we don't grow in. with National Parks adjoining our property the bees are the perfect livestock to have with all this beautiful landscape around us.
Ginger and honey do go very well together…
Our whole farm works together, regeneratively. Our ginger grows in the shade of sunflowers that are worked by the bees. Cover crops that add fertility after harvest provide our bees with forage when the forest's blossom has ended.
Bees and Honey are such a topical issue at the moment. With questionably sourced imported honey flooding the shelves, many people are looking to support local beekeepers. The best way to ensure that you're getting real honey that hasn't been adulterated is to find and support local producers.
As you can see, a lot more thought, planning, management, and work goes into maintaining a farm than you might think! Thank you to farmers Michi and Aidan for taking the time to chat with us and share their experiences, and don’t forget, every box of Good & Fugly is filled with produce that comes from farmers as passionate and dedicated to their craft. These are farmers you directly support, so why not treat yourself to a box today?