Where does your ginger come from?

It’s been the first question on everyone’s lips since day 1; December 22nd, 2009.

Back then I used to say “One day we’ll be big enough to buy someone’s entire crop”

Since 2015, our ginger has been grown for us by thirty farmers in the village of Navurevure, in the highlands south of Suva in Fiji.

Paula Nokomaivuna, a son of the village, is our agent.

In 2019, we asked the farmers if they would convert to organic farming for us, a few at a time so the others could see what was involved and decide from there.

Valley Fresh – where our annual crop of ginger is processed and packed for shipping –  provided training and support in the early stages, and by September 2022 all 30 farmers were planting organic ginger for the 2023 harvest.

Roger and I went to visit them in August 2023 to congratulate them on the successful  transition from conventional to organic farming, and to thank them for the extra effort involved.

Organic farming requires land that is clear from any chemical residue, and the farmers have a long walk through the bush to reach the organic ginger plot, both to tend the crop and to carry the harvested ginger back for washing.

Our ginger is harvested 3 months later than everyone else’s, for maximum depth of flavour. Our farmers certainly earn the higher rate that Hakanoa pays, and the quality of the ginger they produce for us is superb. It’s dense, crisp, and incredibly flavourful.

We have huge respect for these farmers and the hard work they do.

They also collect wild-harvest turmeric for us, from the bush surrounding the organic ginger plot.

The ginger and turmeric is washed in Navurevure, then delivered to the Valley Fresh processing plant in Sigatoka.

We met Karuna Pillay at Valley Fresh in 2016 – Paula introduced us – and she has proven to be an experienced and incredibly competent food technologist and plant manager.

Our ginger and turmeric is washed twice more, and broken up. We don’t take the skin off for two reasons; a lot of the good stuff is directly under the skin, and it is so fresh that the skin is very light. It’s pulped to our specs, bagged, boxed and frozen ready for shipping. No chemicals are used in any part of the process.

Karuna supervises the entire process, tracks and records all the data, and provides immaculate records for MPI and our customs agents.

After it’s shipped to Aotearoa NZ, we keep it frozen and defrost what we need for each production run.