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GreenMan’s Garden goes golden: New farm owner Ange Heese talks turmeric

Margaret Abrams

Posted on Oct 04, 2021 in Farmers Market , GreenMans Garden , GreenMan

If you’ve wandered through the Farmers Market, you’ve most definitely encountered the eccentric GreenMan’s booth, full of fresh turmeric. Now, the GreenMan’s farm has a new owner, who’s just as devoted to spreading the health benefits of the colorful plant.

Ange Heese is the new owner of the GreenMan’s farm and is also manning the farmers market booth alongside her new pup, Bruce, and her partner, Trice. She has innovative plans for the farm in Mossy Head, hoping to host yoga retreats, farm to table dinners, and more, as well as one day offering an eco village where people can stay, work, and connect.

We chatted with the new farm owner to find out what to expect from the bountiful booth, how “van life” serendipitously brought her to Mossy Head, and all of the health benefits that come with the colorful roots.

Tell us a little bit about where you’re from.

I’m originally from a suburb south of Cleveland, Ohio, called Sagamore Hills. I grew up exploring the Cuyahoga Valley National Park which greatly shaped my love for the outdoors. My partner Trice and I have been living “van life” for the past year and a half. We built it out ourselves using natural materials like bamboo, sustainably harvested sheep wool insulation from Havelock, and slabs of beautiful eastern red cedar wood. We’ve traveled around Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, and now Florida.

We’ve had incredible experiences along the way, including learning pottery and woodworking skills, building an off grid solar system, surfing on the East coast, cooking in beautiful locations, and more. We spent a lot of time on beaches, farms, quaint little towns, and even in a few big cities. We learned how to navigate society from our 50 square foot home on wheels. We’ve learned how to live with less, fix things when they break, cook incredible meals using wild harvested and unique ingredients, and much more.

How did you decide to buy GreenMan’s farm?

I met GreenMan one Saturday at the Seaside Farmers Market. It was my first full week living in the area and I thought, what better way to get familiar with the area than to check out the market? His booth was the first one that I walked up to. The turmeric immediately caught my eye, as I have been a turmeric lover for years, and spent a little time on Paul Izak’s farm, Yogarden in Hawaii, working with turmeric.

When I saw how fresh and vibrant the roots at his table looked, I bought a small handful. We chatted for a few minutes and I could tell he was an intelligent and connected person. We exchanged Instagram information and I continued browsing. After I left, I immediately went back to the van and juiced the incredible root. It was unlike any turmeric I’d ever tried. I instantly felt a sense of peace, energy, clarity, relaxation, and groundedness - I was hooked. I told him I loved it and asked why it made me feel so unbelievably good. He laughed and shared that this turmeric is special, and that when you consume it raw and fresh, you get an instant dopamine boost. I told him that I needed to come see the farm!

A few weeks passed, and I saw him at the market again and we made plans for a visit. Later that week, Trice and I and another couple ventured out to the farm. We instantly fell in love with the place. It was dark when we got there, but something about scooping up a handful of soil and seeing the vibrant life in it really spoke to me. I’ve worked on a few different farms, and have never seen soil quite like we have here. This was late spring, so not much was visibly growing. There were two massive clover patches that I found beautiful, happy fish in the greenhouse, and we even got to dig up some turmeric!

GreenMan kept mentioning that he had been looking for the right person to buy the farm as he didn’t want to see it developed or have someone come in and destroy the magic that he had built. When we drove away, I knew in my soul that this was what I wanted to do, and Trice agreed.

I told GreenMan that I wanted to work with him and from that day on, we spent almost every day at the farm. Over three months, I gained a massive amount of knowledge related to farming, running a business, and life. I learned how to drive a tractor, the best way to dig turmeric, how to clean it, process it, how to take care of the soil, tricks for planting seeds, and a ton of other magical gardening tips. GreenMan gracefully guided me through the legalities of transferring a property and here we are.

Trice and I have always wanted to live by the beach, grow food, have access to seafood, work at a farmers market, and connect with a community. This opportunity checked off all the boxes and I could not pass it up! It’s truly been an incredible experience and I’m so excited for what is to come.

What will you be growing on the farm?

We’re definitely continuing the consistent supply of turmeric and arugula. Those are two awesome things that I love supplying to the community and local restaurants. Right now, we have tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, spinach, cranberry hibiscus, scallop squash, and lots of herbs like mint, basil, shiso, dill, parsley, tulsi, thai basil, and more.

We just got a ton of rare and heirloom seeds, so I’m super excited to start planting those. I have some purple, black, pink, and watermelon radishes, purple tomatillos, rainbow carrots, unique salad greens, lots of different kinds of beets, different kinds of peppers, melons, kohlrabi, cabbages and much much more! Eating and growing the rainbow is my favorite way to stay healthy and I’m looking forward to helping others do the same.

What are some of your favorite uses for turmeric?

I absolutely love making turmeric lattes every morning! I add turmeric root to everything, including pancakes, dressings, sauces, rice dishes, curries, smoothies, teas, and desserts. I also use it topically! It keeps my skin happy and my muscles from feeling fatigued. I have learned how incredible it is for giving me energy and helping my mental clarity.

Turmeric is generally known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and I really realized how almost all of the issues that we as humans experience stem from inflammation in some way. In the past, I didn’t have the chance to experience long term results from turmeric because I didn’t have a sustainable source of high quality root. I thankfully have a seemingly endless supply now.

Also, the level of freshness is a very important factor in feeling the benefits. After using fresh turmeric daily for the past six months, I’ve experienced clearer skin, healthier digestion, a brighter mood, more balanced hormones, weight loss, stronger muscles, a stronger immune system, better sleep, and more energy than ever before.

What are your plans for the farm’s future?

Oh my goodness, I have so many. I definitely see a tiny house village here, where people can come stay and get the farm experience. I see farm to table dinners, bonfires, retreats, workshops, and events. I know these things will take some time, but every day we make a bit more progress. I want this to feel like the community’s garden - a place to help grow a golden community. I would love for people to come and connect with nature and be able to experience the joy of growing food and knowing where your food comes from, or just take a walk around the garden to release the tension from a stressful day.

What can people expect from your farmers market booth?

Nothing too major, just some aesthetic differences and decorating of the table. GreenMan and I are going to continue working together, so all the same products you know and love will still be available. There will even be a few new products coming soon, like dressings, turmeric based snacks, sauces, and other magical creations from the garden.