To start off the story of Follow Your Food, we want to introduce a new producer to the region and supplier to Ag Connections, Tumalo Fish and Vegetable Farm. Just north of Bend and outside of Tumalo, proprietor Bob Camel has established a progressive operation and supplies us with fresh ginger and turmeric, inventory that was previously unavailable in the area. Both of these crops are rhizome roots of plants within the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, and endemic to a more humid Asian climate. As such it has required Bob a tremendous amount of personal research to design and construct the infrastructure necessary to locally cultivate these exotic crops in our high desert ecosystem. The end results are the complex, climate controlled greenhouses on site, where everything from temperature, humidity, soil biology and even atmospheric CO2 levels are controlled with nuanced care. What is more, Bob built it all by hand, and expresses a self-educated encyclopedic knowledge on his biosphere. The greenhouse precision exemplifies his effusive passion for the importance of turmeric and ginger in an everyday diet, which he subscribes to personally.
There is reason behind Bob’s nutritional endorsement for Turmeric. Most people have long acknowledged the value of ginger, the officionale associated with strong anti inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a cousin of ginger, boasts some similar medical benefit and substantial nutritional value. It has long been used in eastern cultures as medicinal spice to add into curries and soups. The medicinal compound present is curcumin, which gives the deep golden, red rhizome its strong flavor that can be best described as sharp; both slightly bitter and a touch spicy. Curcumin is a secondary compound known to be a strong anti inflammatory, useful for providing relief to gastronomic distress, Crohn’s Disease, and stomach ulcers. Research has also indicated that curcumin also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which would aid in building a resilient immune system. While turmeric is no dietary cure-all, which is a myth in the first place, it plays a strong part in building a wholesome and healthy diet. And the best part is, this turmeric is coming in on a truck from 15 miles away, not a plane from afar.
Click here to see a video of Bob's advanced aquaponic operation in action!
Written by: Peter Elmore