PLANT FRENZY: Plant lover Vicki Homberg has been attending the Ginger Flower and Food Festival for 20 years. Picture: Laura Pettigrew
PLANT FRENZY: Plant lover Vicki Homberg has been attending the Ginger Flower and Food Festival for 20 years. Picture: Laura Pettigrew

Ginger frenzy as festival spices up Yandina

CELEBRITY chef Matt Golinski is looking forward to inspiring homes cooks to use more of key spice with a rich history on the Sunshine Coast.

About 8000 ginger lovers are expected to attend the 24th annual Ginger Flower and Food Festival over the next three days.

Opening today, the event will showcase the Sunshine Coast's fresh produce with an exciting line-up of Sunshine Coast cooking and gardening experts.

Mr Golinski is enjoying his 7th year at the festival and said he was looking forward to inspiring people to use ginger and other local produce with his Asian inspired dish.

"When you're doing a demonstration to me it's 70 per cent entertainment and 30 per cent information," Mr Golinski said.

"It's got to be fun enough that it's not me banging on about how to cook something.

"The chances of someone going home and actually making that are pretty low but if they take a couple bits of information and have fun, that's all they need to be inspired to go home and have fun cooking.

"The Ginger Factory has been a real supporter of the local producers in the region and a lot of them are here today showing of their wares, so I'm trying to squeeze a lot of their ingredients into my cooking demonstrations as well."

He said he loved to see people enjoying the food demonstrations, but his favourite part of the festival was filling up his garden with some of the 3000 ginger plants on sale at the event.

"I go home with a boot load of new ginger … all the ginger here is in flower and it's a beautiful thing to see," he said.

"It's kind of like … a Boxing Day sale over there in the ginger nursery everyone is clambering to try and get to the new ginger."

Festival attendee of 20 years Vicki Homberg said the availability of the "unusual plants" had kept her coming back year after year.

"I love the plants, I can't get enough of them I'm just obsessed," she said.

"Over the years I've seen the growth and the appreciation for gardening and nature and people looking after the earth which I love to see."

The Ginger Factory tourism manager Brenda Bailey said the festival had introduced some new additions.

"This year we've got some new presenters that have never worked at the festival before that we would like for people to enjoy a slightly different angle to our festival and that is our health and wellness," she said.

"We've decided that it's probably time for us to talk about those things and decided to invite a naturopath … her presentation is all about ginger healing properties and what ginger is good for."

The free event also features a new art theme which includes an installation made from recycled materials and a live art installation by The Ginger Factory's resident artist Sharon Wood.


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