Sadly, the fresh ginger season has come to a close. But Susan Anderson of East Branch Ginger, who tested the crop for Johnny's Selected Seeds in Albion in 2010, starts taking orders for seed in early 2013. (Her stock ran out early last year.) You can also try Urban Farm Fermentory's local ginger 'booch, but you'll have to pay more for it. UFF's Eli Cayer isn't convinced quaffers will appreciate an ingredient four times as expensive as mass-produced ginger.

Kennebec farmer Chas Gill of Bowdoinham is more positive. Tao in Brunswick bought out his crop, for pickling. Chef Cara Stadler even wanted the ginger leaves, which unfortunately had died in the first frost. Gill himself steeped the leaves into tea and thought of poaching fish with them. "It's kind of fun to have stuff late in the season, and it's a high-value crop," says Gill, who plans to sow ginger for a third season.

For recipes for pickled ginger and ginger beer, visit

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