During the last summer when our two products, Turmeric pickle and Sweet Turmeric Paste began showing good demand in the market and we received wide appreciation for its quality and taste from its users, we decided to increase its production. But sourcing good quality Turmeric rhizomes in New York has always been a tough task for us. Carrie spend several days researching on it and we found Turmeric sold in New York are mainly from Fiji, Jamaica and countries of South America. But I always wanted my most favorite variety, the one which grows in the western Ghats of India, where I was born and raised. Turmeric grown particularly in the northern parts of Kerala , in the hilly district of Wayanad is the finest of all Turmeric that I have tasted so far . It has certain unbeaten quality of look, color and when cooked the aroma it gives to the dish is unique and unparalleled.
We visited many Indian grocery shops in the Jackson heights area of the NYC where hundreds of Indian shops sell all sorts of Indian vegetables. Most of them sold the rhizomes at very high prices and the cheaper ones were not of good quality. Some trendy organic shops in the city sold the rhizomes at exorbitant prices which are not affordable for recovering the cost of production and make a margin.
Some web sites from India show that USA is the largest buyer of Turmeric from India but we still could not locate the best shop where our expectation of price and quality would match. During those long searches, one day we happened to see a big bag of Turmeric in an Indian grocery shop in the city of Albany. The shop has a pretty decent collection of Indian vegetables , spices, condiments, kitchen tools and also have a small restaurant on its back where they sell Indian snacks.
The rhizomes looked pretty bad in color and shape and were quite unimpressive . When I looked closely I was really surprised rather shocked, the collection of Turmeric is filled with mother rhizomes!. Experience told me that the mother rhizomes are the one which multiply and give numerous off shoots, or daughters, during its life span. In normal situation no Turmeric farmer ever would sell the mother rhizomes as it is the principle source of further farming. The Turmeric rhizomes that we generally get in the markets are the off shoots or daughters coming from its source . These mother rhizomes look pretty ugly in shape and have few reasons to attract a buyer who is looking for some clean Turmeric root.
I felt so happy as I have been dreaming of getting a few mother rhizomes for our garden in the hope of growing a few plants by ourselves . Carrie and me have been quite successful in growing a number of other herbs such as fenugreek, mustard, basil and other stuffs but never been lucky to grow something like Turmeric (or lucky enough to have a 9 month growing season!).
We decided to buy the entire bag of Turmeric and Carrie succeeded in getting it for a good price. We sensed that the shop also wanted to get rid of the "bad looking Turmeric" . In fact they said , their customers generally look for clean looking rhizomes.
We planted five of the mother rhizomes in last July in the center of our "fire garden" (fire pit turned garden). In late November we took them inside and remained in our basement for five months Last week we took them out and all of them looked healthy and four of them were quite active during its life span. They had a good number of off shoots or daughters and were abundant of roots . So we are going to have another of Turmeric round this summer !!! Thanks to our Mother Goddess Atina for her kindness .