Sunday, 26 May 2013

Once in a while I will come across an object and think "I like that, I like that a lot". I may not necessarily want to buy it but I just want to look at it. This poster has that effect on me.

As you can see, this poster is advertising Excelsior Ginger Ale from the John Klee Bottling Company of Dayton, Ohio. According to the US Library of Congress, it dates from August 29th, 1885. The ginger ale was sold in the Joseph R.Peebles Sons chain of grocery stores in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Not a lot is known about the John Klee company apart from the fact that John Klee himself was an immigrant from Germany who founded the company in 1866 to manufacture ginger ale and sodas. The company closed in the 1930s.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ginger Popcorn, Exports Halted & Ginger Ale Recall

We are a little late with this post as we are working on a major development at All Things Ginger. We are not going to tell you what it is yet but when it is ready we think you will be impressed.

The Dieline, a website dedicated to package design, reports that Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale is the most successful new product launch to date for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. I've never tried it but I am quite taken with the look of the can.

A gingerbread-flavoured popcorn has been launched ready for Easter by the UK gourmet popcorn maker Joe & Seph’s. Popcorn sales in the UK have increased rapidly over the last three years with the market in 2011 worth £53 million according to Mintel. (Source: The Food & Drink Innovation Network).

There was a blunt message last week in The Produce News - "Chinese ginger exports have ground to a halt". What normally happens in China is that ginger is harvested in November and placed in sand to cure and dry in caves until January. But this winter China is experiencing one of its coldest winters in four decades and the ginger is not curing. The price of Chinese ginger has already risen as a consequence and is expected to continue rising.

The ginger revival in Sierra Leone has been boosted by the news that the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act has certified ginger for export to the USA and Europe. Sierra Leone has been exporting ginger on a small scale to the Netherlands for a number of years. This has been quite an achievement as the Sierra Leone ginger industry was all but wiped out during the civil war from 1991-2002. (Source: Awoko).

Here is some important news if you live in New Zealand and you have bought a Schweppes Dry Ginger Ale with a best-before date between January 10th and January 30th, 2014. It has got to go back. Coca-Cola is recalling this drink along with four other Schweppes drinks because of a possible problem with the glass bottle. (Source: 3news).

Greene King, the pub retailer and brewer, has revealed its 2013 guest ales calendar. And guess what? The brewer has a ginger offering. Twisted Wheel, a light ale with a twist of ginger, will be available from April to June. According to The Drinks Business, this beer is named after the famous Manchester northern soul club which had previously been the UK's first Mod club.

The Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association has published an interesting article about growing ginger in the state. We have mentioned growing ginger in Maine before in this post. Farmers in the state appear to concentrate on producing immature (or baby) ginger which is popular both cooked and raw in salads.

The Fiji Times reported that over the last ten years the country's production of ginger has been 75% immature (baby, green) and 25% mature. With the country set to start exporting mature ginger to Australia, the Ministry of Agriculture needs farmers to convert their immature ginger crops to mature ginger.

In our last post we reported that Nepal has now become the third largest producer of ginger in the world. The Himalayan has now stated that Nepal is third in terms of the total export volume of ginger but eighth in terms of value. In other words, Nepal is not getting enough for its ginger compared to other countries. The article also mentions that ginger production in Nepal is growing a faster rate than in the major competitor countries of India, China and Indonesia. The Kathmandu University School of Management has found that the best way to increase export earnings is to export value-export value-added ginger. And the best form of value-added ginger is ginger powder which is seeing increasing demand around the world.

The price of Nigerian dried ginger appears to be stable even though 70% of the current harvest has been sold. Incidentally, Nigeria used to be the third largest exporter of ginger until Nepal overtook it.

The Radio Taiwan blog published a post on the benefits of ginger in winter. What took my eye was the fact that ginger is harvested in Taiwan all year.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Welcome Rain, Hawaiian Ginger & Antimicrobial Activity

Ginger farmers in Queensland, and the Gympie region in particular, have been worried about the drought-like conditions they have endured since the middle of last year. So they were relieved when it eventually started to rain with the arrival of the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. And rain it certainly has. According to The Gympie Times the Langshaw ginger farm received 600mm (nearly 24") of rain in four days. This amount of rain falling in four days would normally indicate very heavy downpours but it was actually gentle rain. Because of this there was remarkably little erosion and the crops survived. Queensland produces about 80% of Australia's ginger.

Patrick Atanalian, the executive chef at the Sanctuary restaurant in Minneapolis, has created a simple but unusual dish. He has taken a classic potato soup and given it a bit of a bite with the addition of ginger beer.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has revealed that Nepal has become the third largest producer of ginger in the world after India and China. In 2011 the country produced 216,289 tonnes of ginger. A continuing concern for the Nepalese government must be that India buys 98 percent of the country’s total ginger exports. (Source: The Kathmandu Post).

The Department of Botany at Gauhati University in North-East recently completed a research project entitled "Comparative Chemical Constituents And Antimicrobial Activity Of Normal And Organic Ginger Oils". It concluded that organic ginger oil was more effective than non-organic ginger oil at fighting Stephylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli and all the fungal strains except Penicillium sp.

The Ohio Breweries blog informs us that the Great Lakes Christmas Ale (which contains ginger as a significant component) was the top craft beer in terms of sales in Ohio and the ninth in the whole of the USA. And to think that it is only on sale for eight weeks. The brewery produced 359 batches (I don't know how large a batch is) which contained 7,000lbs of ginger.

For the last few years the University of Hawaii at Manoa has been conducting research into bacterial wilt of edible ginger in conjunction with Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE). Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) is the biggest threat to ginger farmers in Hawaii and many other ginger-growing countries. The aim of the project is to grow wilt-free ginger in pathogen-free soil. (Sources: University of Hawaii, SARE).

One of the participants in this research project is Hugh "Biker Dude" Johnson from Puna Organics in Hawaii. He supplies many of the ginger farms springing up in the eastern USA. Johnson was the first farmer in the world to export organic ginger.

Parts of Hawaii suffer from an infestation of Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum), an ornamental ginger which features in the top 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species. Interestingly, a strain of Ralstonia solanacearum has been used as a biological control against Kahili ginger.

The ginger harvest has started on time in the Nilphamari district of northern Bangladesh, according to The Financial Express. It is too early to speculate on the quality and quantity of this year's harvest but the district, which in the past produced enough ginger for the entire country, currently accounts for half of Bangladesh's needs.

Buderim Ginger announced recently that chief executive Murray Richardson had resigned for family reasons after just eight months in the role. I don't know what effect that will have on the company.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Niche Market, Brazilian Exports & High Price In Nepal

The actress Gwyneth Paltrow is having a healthy-eating recipe book published this coming April which I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about between now and then (the Graham Norton Show perhaps?). Anyway, one of her 185 recipes is salmon burgers with pickled ginger. It doesn't immediately grab me but if you do give it a try, let me know what it is like.

The Virginia Farm Bureau is the state of Virginia's largest farmers organisation. It protects farmers' interests and dispenses help and advice. And a recent piece of advice to farmers is to grow ginger in 2013. According to Dr Reza Rafie, a Virginia State University horticulture specialist. "It’s a considerable niche market opportunity". Incidentally, the advice refers to the use of hoop houses. These are more commonly known as polytunnels in the UK.

If you are interested in growing ginger you can order ginger 'seed' from East Branch Ginger in North Carolina from the second week of January.

The Trinidad and Tobago Newsday reported on some of the shopping stories on the day before Christmas Eve in Port-of-Spain. One retailer was having a bad time selling boxer shorts and jerseys but was having more success selling ginger root for making ginger beer.

In my last post I mentioned the problems being faced by ginger farmers in Antigua who are being plagued by the Giant African snail. The same source, the Antigua Observer, has now reported on one particular farmer who has lost all of her ginger crop at a time of the year, Christmas, when ginger is very popular. Someone must be able to control these little blighters, surely.

We are about halfway through the Brazilian ginger export season now. December and January will see new ginger sent to Europe, principally the Netherlands.

The Caribbean Bottling Company produces Schweppes Ginger Ale for the Bahamian market. But recently production was suspended after an unusual taste was detected in the 12oz cans. At the beginning the problem was proving so difficult to resolve that representatives from Coca-Cola and the can supplier were brought in. It has now been alleged that a cleaning agent could be involved. (Source: Tribune 242 (1), Tribune 242 (2)).

Nepalese ginger farmers will be ending the year on a high. Last year, ginger was trading for as little as Rs 5 per kg but now it can fetch Rs 40 per kg. And the reason? Because the price was so low last year many farmers decided to give ginger a miss this year. This has resulted in a shortage thereby pushing up the price. (Source: The Kathmandu Post).

I'd like to finish by wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Husband Creches, Ginger Fraud, Giant Snails & Low Calorie Ginger Beer

Crabbie’s, famous for its ginger beers, is opening “man sheds” or "husband crèches" in a number of UK shopping centres for men to relax, drink ginger beer and play with gadgets during the Christmas shopping rush. The idea is that wives and girlfriends will leave their partner at a shed, spend some time shopping unhindered and unencumbered, and then collect him when it is time to go home. What an excellent idea. Clever people, these Crabbie's folk. (Source: Talking Retail).

The BBC carried an unusual story regarding a company who imported what it claimed was ginger into the UK but actually turned out to be garlic. The company informed HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that it was importing thousands of kilos of ginger. But when the UK Border Agency checked a particular consignment it found 7,000 kilos of garlic. HMRC later checked previous shipping records and found that the company's importation of garlic had stopped. Over the same period the company's importation of ginger had increased five-fold. So why did the company pass off garlic as ginger? If you import garlic into the EU you have to pay an import duty imposed to protect EU garlic growers. Ginger does not incur any duty. The owner of the company, who has since disappeared, has now been found guilty in his absence of avoiding £2m in import duty.

FoodManufacture.co.uk carried a feature on the increasing competition and developments in the UK brewing sector. Recent research from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has shown that there are now 1,009 breweries plying their trade in the UK. Much of the output from these breweries, many of them microbreweries, is aimed at the growing number of 18-24 year olds who are interested in trying flavoured beers. And a popular variety in this flavoured beer range is ginger-spiced real ale.

Concern is growing amongst farmers in Antigua who are losing their ginger and other crops to an invasion of Giant African snails, according to the Antigua Observer. Unfortunately there isn't an effective means of control or eradication so we will have to wait and see. Hopefully this isn't the end of the story.

I don't know much about ginger on Antigua but I do know that it was introduced to the island by the settlers and that the Antigua Brewery produces a ginger ale.

Good news for Fever-Tree, the British premium mixer drinks brand. It has won a listing with Tesco for its Naturally Light Ginger Beer. The low calorie drink contains 60 calories per serving and is made with the same ingredients as Fever-Tree's signature Ginger Beer with the exception of the sweetener where natural fruit juice is used instead of cane sugar. (Source: The Grocer).

The inhabitants of Kazakhstan drink about 3 billion litres of tea a year. This puts the country in the top five tea-consuming countries in the world. Much of this tea is black tea and much of this black tea is consumed with something added such blueberries or cranberries or, you've guessed it, ginger. (Source: Kazakh TV)

The Himalayan reports that in the last fiscal year Nepal exported Rs74.26 billion worth of products and that in the current fiscal year the target is Rs100 billion. Although ginger contributed a mere Rs280 million last year, for a lot of small farmers and their families it is the only source of income. Is a Rs1 billion target achievable as has been mooted? I sincerely hope so.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Swedish Gingerbread, Indian Prices & Ginger Real Ales

I do enjoy watching foreign language dramas with subtitles on TV. My Saturday evenings are not complete without a weekly dose of crime from Italy or France or, as happens most weeks, Scandinavia (The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen & Wallander come to mind). According to The Observer, it is not only Scandinavian drama which is proving popular with the British. The UK shopping delivery service Ocado has launched a Scandinavian Christmas Shop and one of its top sellers is Nyåkers Pepparkakor. This Swedish gingerbread biscuit has seen sales jump by 73% over the last three weeks.

Nyåkers Pepparkakor is the oldest gingerbread biscuit bakery in Sweden. Pepparkakor is the Swedish word for gingerbread. The biscuits have been produced for seventy-odd years and are still made to the original recipe. They are very popular in the USA (and now the UK it seems).

This coming Friday (Nov 30th) and Saturday (Dec 1st) will see the Fall to Winter Fest in Boston. This event, organised by Drink Craft Beer, will feature offerings from 25 New England craft brewers and cider makers (sounds like the CAMRA beer festivals in the UK). The official festival beer is from Peak Organic and has the rather unusual name "Nut Your Average Ginger". This is a harvest brown ale brewed with malt, hops, honey, chestnut puree and Massachusetts-grown ginger from Old Friends Farm.

If you do go to the Fest have a look for a gingerbread stout called Merry Mischief from the Boston Beer Company and a pale ale with honey and ginger called Honey Gingah Pale Ale from the Cody Brewing Company. Let me know your views on these beers.

Old Friends Farm is an organic farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. It grows a ginger variety from the Biker Dude Organic Ginger Farm in Pahoa, Hawaii. Because the climate in the US Northeast is not as good as Hawaii, the ginger is harvested at five to six months. This results in young and tender ginger which is perishable. Fortunately, it can be frozen.

The Hindu Business Line reports that the price of ginger in India is rapidly increasing because demand is exceeding supply now that winter is here. Ginger consumption during winter in India is always high as people attempt to protect themselves from the cold and damp. And demand will continue to exceed supply as many farmers, disappointed with the low prices in recent years, have decided not to grow ginger in the new season. I'm sure that this is a decision they are now bitterly regretting.

When I started reading the article I wondered why India doesn't import ginger to cover the shortfall. According to the article the existing import duty on ginger still makes Indian ginger, already an expensive commodity on the world markets, the cheaper option. So old ginger stock is being released to the local markets.

A standard comparison measure of world commodity prices is the concept of price parity. This benchmark price is calculated by taking an average of prices over a period of time. For example, the USA uses a period of ten years. If we assume that India uses the same period as the USA, its ginger price parity is an average of the price of ginger over the previous ten years. India's current ginger price parity is the highest of all the ginger-producing countries.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hobbit Ginger Beer, Snoop Partnership, Dutch Exports & Tissue Culture

Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings? Or hobbits? Or Tolkien? If you are and you like your ginger beer then you will be interested in this. The Good George brewery in Waikato has been selected to brew a non-alcoholic ginger beer for the Green Dragon in Hobbiton. But the Green Dragon isn't real, I hear you say. Well, it is now. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy the Green Dragon pub was actually only the front, the rest didn't exist. And during the final instalment it was burned to the ground (I don't remember that!). But the Green Dragon has now been rebuilt as a real pub for the forthcoming The Hobbit film trilogy. Unfortunately, the pub is only open to those on the Hobbiton tour. (Source: Waikato Times).

Gladstone Hall, the former home of Australian ginger beer magnate William Starkey, is now on the market. If you have at least $2.4 million and fancy living in the Sydney suburb of Dulwich Hill, you can find more information here. But I am more interested in the ginger beer itself. Starkey started brewing ginger beer in Sydney in 1838 and became so successful that he eventually had the largest ginger beer factory in the southern hemisphere. I can't seem to find anything else about Starkey's ginger beer. Can anyone help?

The Naples Beach Brewery in south Florida recently received state clearance to commercially produce alcoholic beverages. One of its new beers is a mango ginger Belgian ale. Sounds very American.

A press release has announced details of a partnership between the US rapper Snoop Lion (apparently he is sometimes known as Snoop Dogg) and Reed's Ginger Brew to raise awareness of Snoop's Mind Gardens Project in Jamaica. The project's aim is to establish organic community gardens capable of producing fresh fruit and vegetables for school-aged children. Reed's founder Chris Reed has said that he wants to give something back to Jamaica as his company's successful drinks are based on traditional Jamaican-style ginger beers.

just-food has reported on the rising demand from China for traditional English cheeses including the increasing popular dessert cheeses such as white stilton with mango and ginger. It is quite likely that the ginger in these blended cheeses came from China in the first place.

I've just been reading some interesting statistics from the Centre for the Promotion of Imports, an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and known by the Dutch acronym CBI. In 2010, the Netherlands accounted for 35% of all ginger imports into the EU and was the largest EU importer. Again in 2010, 65% of total ginger exports from the EU came from the Netherlands. Some of these Dutch re-exports contributed 6.8% of total British ginger imports.

So why the Netherlands? Towards the end of the 16th century Dutch traders started dealing in spices from the East. Soon after, the Dutch East India Company was formed and this lasted for nearly two hundred years. By then the Dutch spice trade, including ginger, was so well established that it continues to this day. It may seem incredible but last year the Netherlands was the world's third biggest exporter of ginger behind China and Nigeria.

The idea of the EU exporting ginger sounds strange, doesn't it? How can a region which doesn't grow ginger (or at least not commercially) actually export it? The answer is, I don't know. I can only speculate that it could be some sort of added-value or preferential rate. Can anyone enlighten me?

just-drinks has reported a fall in the losses of Castle Brands, the New York-based spirits and wine group. A contributory factor in this improvement is the rise in sales of Gosling's Stormy Ginger Beer, up 45.5% to 74,959 cases in the last quarter. You can always rely on ginger!

A new ginger breeding facility has just opened in the Malaysian state of Sabah, according to the Borneo Post. It uses in-vitro technology to produce 500 plantlets from one parent ginger plant in a process which takes six months. It is hoped that production of disease-free stock will help Sabah meet its demand for 24,000 kg a month.

A press release on PRWeb has announced the forthcoming launch of a loose leaf ginger tea blend in time for Christmas. The Tea Spot, from Boulder in Colorado, has created a blend featuring smoked black tea from China and ginger tea from Honduras. It sounds like the ideal drink for elevenses.