Red Ginger brings holiday cheer

Tropical Flowers Express has been growing tropical flowers on a two-acre farm in upcountry Kapaa since 1993.

“Our neighbor Howard Yamamoto encouraged us to plant tropical flowers — he planted that big monkeypod tree in Koloa Town,” says owner Johnny Gordines. “It’s the best move we ever made.”

Beautiful bouquets of red tropical flowers add holiday cheer to your home. If you have loved ones who live far away, a holiday bouquet from Tropical Flowers Express is an exotic reminder of your love and the beautiful island you live on. If you’re vacationing for the holidays, a small arrangement may add a touch of home.

Vases are filled with large and colorful flowers that are freshly harvested from the farm, including antheriums, calathea (four varieties), costus (three varieties), ginger (10 varieties), heliconia (19 varieties), protea, parrot (similar to bird of paradise) and a variety of foliage.

Red ginger

Red ginger, Alpinia purpurata, is a tall, upright, herbaceous, evergreen plant from the South Pacific, with bright red floral bracts and white flowers. It was introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental before 1930, and is naturalized in Hawaii’s valleys and windward sides.

Red ginger is quite popular as an ornamental and cut flower for the home. The plant bears a shoot, which produces a bright red inflorescence with a cluster of bracts that can grow up to 12 inches long. Most people think this is the flower, but red ginger’s true flowers are small and white, and bloom between the bracts.

Season

Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata) grows year-round in Kauai but is especially abundant from October through June.

Storage

Postharvest vase life varies from five days in young flowers (stem diameter less than 0.4 inches) to 25 days for standard size flowers. Sugar extends post-harvest life by at least one week.

Christmas specials

The Poipu arrangement ($60) includes 16 stems of tropical flowers and exotic foliage ranging up to 2 feet in length. Other arrangements include Twelve Hearts ($60) with 12 medium-sized red anthuriums and tropical foliage. Kauai Aloha ($60) includes six anthuriums, tropical foliage, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts (5-ounce box), Kauai Coffee (7-ounce bag), macadamia nut shortbread from Kauai Kookies (5-ounce box), lightly salted macadamia nuts (2.5-ounces) and honey-roasted macadamia nuts (2.5-ounces).

Where to buy

Tropical Flowers Express can be purchased at the following farmers markets each week. Note that two of the markets will be hosting special Holiday Fairs.

– Kauai Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukuiula (Wednesdays 4-6 p.m.) There is a special Holiday Fair on Dec. 17.

– Kauai Community Market (Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.) There is a special Holiday Fair on Dec. 13.

– Kapaa Sunshine Market (Wednesdays 3-4 p.m.)

For more information, call toll- free 1-855-807-9020 or place orders online at kauaiflowers.com.

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Marta Lane has been a Kauai-based food writer since 2010. After graduating from a 12-week organic farming course on the North Shore, she became the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture manager. Lane is the author of “Tasting Kauai: Restaurants — An Insider’s Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island.” For more information, visit www.TastingKauai.com.

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