1. Why is the turmeric called Lakadong?
It is grown in a region near the village of Lakadong in Meghalaya India. Lakadong is a very remote small village near the border of Assam. They have their own unique dialect that is only spoken by a few nearby villages. To communicate more widely they speak the broader tribal language of Khasi. Much of the farming near Lakadong is traditional slash and burn. This means that after a new wild plot of land is selected for growing, the weeds and brush are cut and burned then turmeric is planted. After a few years, the land is left to go back to weeds and regenerate.
2. What makes Lakadong Turmeric so special?
There is a lot of speculation about this and there is no accurate answer. The opinions have to do with the quality of the soil, high altitude, cool climate, abundant rain, the ancient variety of turmeric and traditional farming methods.
Lakadong Turmeric is known for its medicinal qualities. The Curcumin content in Lakadong Turmeric is between 6 to 7%, which is one of the highest, as against a mere 2 to 3% in most varieties of turmeric.
Lakadong Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is indigenous to Meghalaya and obtained Geographical Indications(GI) tag by The Spices Board of India on 26th July 2015. Despite many of its clones, Lakadong's uniqueness has never been usurped.
3. Where and how is Lakadong turmeric grown?
The turmeric is grown on small family farms. Typical the work is done by hand by the farmer family and a few hired hands. Due to the hilly terrain and since farms are small, using equipment is not feasible.
4. Which months is the turmeric harvested?
The turmeric rhizome is harvested from the ground from December – April.
5. How is Lakadong turmeric processed?
We set up a mini in-house processing unit to maintain the quality standard of our products. We invented simple low-cost bamboo solar dryers and wood burning dryers with aluminium heat exchangers. The turmeric is washed, sliced, dried, powdered and packaged by our own team.
6. Do you buy from different farmers each year?
We are trying to build long-term relationships with farmers so that we can work together to improve the quality of the best turmeric for our customers. We go way beyond fair trade. We partner with farmers enable them to benefit from processing. They can earn more and we can create greater value for our customers.
7. Can I grow Lakadong turmeric in my garden?
Yes, you can use Lakadong turmeric roots and grow them in the garden. It will thrive in fertile soil and you can use manure and vermicompost. However, the only downside is that the curcumin content of the Lakadong turmeric will vary. The reason is that the curcumin content of Lakadong turmeric is affected by the microclimate of the area where it is grown. The fertile land, microclimate and hilly terrain of Jaintia Hills contribute to its high curcumin content.
8. Where can I get Lakadong turmeric rhizome?
Zizira sells only the Lakadong turmeric fingers which you can plant in the soil. The roots will mature into a mother rhizome which will produce more turmeric roots and fingers. This may take a longer time to mature. This is also why farmers store the mother rhizome seed for the next planting season as it is easier for them to yield turmeric fingers faster.