December 14, 2018

Our farms

 

 

 

Farms in the mountains

Guizhou Province is home to many peoples, including Zhuang, Miao, Dong, Buoyei, Yi, and Tujia. Glutinous rice is part of their staple food, grown on terraces.

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Sticky rice, true to its name.

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It’s not easy growing rice on terraces, as farmers can’t make use of machines.

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But rice is not the only harvest from the terrace farms.

Freshwater carp and ducks live here too.

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They feed on the insects harmful to the rice plants, and their waste provides nutrients for the rice. Farmers here seldom need to make use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

Sometimes they also patrol the fields.

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After a hard day of work, farmers enjoy grilled carp.

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In China, the area of cultivation of glutinous rice is less than 5% of that for the common Asian rice. But to make certain types of food, glutinous rice is the only choice of ingredient. (like 粽子zongzi, 汤圆 tangyuan, 年糕 year cake, and dim sum 糯米鸡 lo mai gai—steamed sticky rice with chicken)

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In October, a festival is held to celebrate the harvest of rice.

黄糯米 The rice is coloured yellow with a type of leaves harvested from the mountains, and is the staple food of the farmers.

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酸汤鱼 preserved fish in sour soup, uses litsea and sand ginger.

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Village banquet: tables stretch from one end of an alley to the other.

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This is called 长街宴 the long street banquet

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玮酒Wine made from glutinous rice

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Farms in the sea

The 2,000 square kilometres of sea surrounding Zhangzi Island is now one of the largest aquatic farms in China.

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海参Sea cucumber

Snoozing sea cucumber gets scooped up by a diver

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葱烧海参 Braised sea cucumber with scallion

braised sea cucumber

鲍鱼汤 abalone soup

鲍鱼汤

A diver goes down 40 metres to search for sea urchin

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Sea urchin can be eaten raw, like sashimi.

sea urchin

 

Farms in the lake

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At night, a crab sneaks out Lake Tai and onto land.

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But someone’s waiting for it.

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The famous 大闸蟹 Chinese mitten crab. In October this year, the price of these crabs shot up to 400 yuan per kg, equivalent to 150 kg of rice.

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When it comes to crabs, size matters.

A 100-gram crab fetches 25 yuan in the market, while a 350 g crab can fetch 20 times that.

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清蒸大闸蟹Steamed crab.

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蟹黄汤包 Handmade soup bun with crab roe

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Each bun has 32 folds like this.

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There is an art to eating a soup bun without burning your tongue or squirting the soup everywhere.

soup bun

When all else fails . . .

soup bun with straw

Not everyone can afford the expensive crab, but that hasn’t stopped people from coming up with a way to enjoy a similar taste.

These simple and cheap ingredients: carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and ginger, can be turned into something that tastes highly similar to crabmeat.

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This dish is called 赛螃蟹, which literally means “better than crab”.

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Farms in the delta

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垛田 duotian agrosystem is a network of raised fields surrounded by water and low-lying wetland

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Each field is like an islet.

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I didn’t know taro plants are so tall.

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They’re even taller than an adult.

Taro plants are gluttons for water. Farmers have to water them four times a day, each time lasting an hour.

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Edible taro roots

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蟹黄汪豆腐 crab roe with tofu and taro

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芋头红烧肉 braised pork with taro

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Farms on the highland

The Tibetan Plateau has an average elevation of 4,500 metres.

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青稞 Tibetan barley has a higher beta-glucans content than any other grain.

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It can be used to make 青稞酒 chhaang, an alcoholic beverage.

cchhaang

糌粑 tsampa is the staple food of the Tibetan people, also made from Tibetan barley.

tsampa

farms on the rooftop

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Can you imagine this farm is on a rooftop in Beijing, a city with 20 million people?

 

The biggest pumpkin harvested on this rooftop farm is nearly 20 kg.

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Even simple dishes like tomatoes with fried eggs look particularly appetising once you know all the ingredients are grown right on this rooftop.

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Dumplings with pumpkin and pork filling

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After a meal at home during Chinese New Year everyone’d be like:

fat cat.gif

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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