We talk extensively about the history, health benefits and medicinal properties of Turmeric, however, one topic we haven’t covered is the growth and harvest process of the plant.
Today we’re going to give you a little insight into the wonderful world of the Turmeric plant – before it’s dried and ground into the vibrant orange powder we all know and love.
Turmeric is native to the monsoon forests of south-east Asia. Its is grown extensively in Thailand, India and Indonesia, however, the number of Australian Turmeric farms is increasing due to many parts of the country having ideal growing conditions for the plant.
Turmeric is a perennial herb, meaning it lives for more than two years so it doesn’t need to be replanted each year. This is great for farmers as it allows them to have rotating crops, reducing how often then need to completely strip and sow the land.
The Turmeric plant grows to about a 1m tall and has beautiful white flower spikes if the clumps are left undisturbed for a year.
Turmeric is part of the Ginger or ‘Zingiberaceae’ family of plants mean it has underground rhizomes. These rhizomes, that look like nubbly gnomes thumbs according to my niece, are the part of the plant that is harvested, dried and ground to produce the powder we use in our products.
Planting, Growing & Harvesting
Turmeric plants cannot stand waterlogging so requires well-drained soil and around 1000 to 2000mm of rain annually or similar supplementary irrigation. Planting should be done in September or October when the soil is warm, Turmeric needs to be grown in a frost-free climate, however, it can be grown in a glasshouse (in cooler climates).
Although Turmeric loves the heat, it also needs to be shaded which is why it is often planted under an open canopy of trees.
Turmeric is grown from setts (small rhizomes) with one or two buds, planted 5-7 cm deep and about 30-45 cm apart, with 15-30 cm between each plant. Approximately 1,700 kg of setts would be required for one hectare of land.
Because Turmeric is a perennial herb, the clumps will need to be broken up and fresh pieces planted every 3 to 4 years.
The time between planting and harvesting can vary but is generally between seven and ten months. The lower leaves and stems will start to turn brown and dry when the plant is mature and the rhizomes are ready to harvest. This can be done by gently digging around the plant and removing the rhizome bunches or by pulling the whole plant.
The Turmeric in our products is from a family-owned organic Turmeric plantation in the southwestern region of India, Karnataka which is approximately 5 hours by car East of Goa. Karnataka is over 2000 miles NE from Bangladesh or 35 hours by car.
In 2019, around 50,000 farmers in the state were engaged in organic farming. This imparts due to the reform of the 2004 Organic Farming Policy in 2017. In 2016 India was one of the first countries on the world to kick out multinational seed giant Monsanto for its use of inconsistent poor quality of seeds. India as a country is paving the way for organic and chemical-free farming of not just its land but also urban farming and it’s impressive.
The main reason that our Turmeric is sourced from India is that there aren’t any certified organic Turmeric farms here in Australia that can produce the quantities we need as frequently as we need it to manufacture our products.
We have been working with the family who run the farm in Karnataka since 2013. After seven-years, this is a relationship we value and will continue to build and support not only this wonderful family but also the workers, their families and the wider community.
Click here to see our harvest and the sun drying processes we use.
The Turmeric that they grow for us meets all Australian standards and is certified organic by the ACO. Each harvest has a certificate of analysis, a heavy metal test report and a microbiology report. Our Turmeric is tested just the same as all food products to ensure it meets the quality and Australian standards for food manufacturing. Our products are manufactured in Certified Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) facilities here on the Gold Coast.
You can see how our Turmeric is grown and the meticulous care and love taken by the family who grows it for us. It is all sun and shade dried naturally to maintain its organic status before being ground into the powder you end up receiving in your capsules.
To learn more about our certifications and our wonderful farm in India, CLICK HERE.