Archives For Farming in China

During my last trip to China, I was at a store which is much like a Chinese version of Walmart. I almost always do some shopping for the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life when I am in town and this day was no different. There is an escalator that takes you from the clothes, electronics, toys, office, and home products to the grocery area. Usually the walls in this area are bare or they will have an advertisement for some product like toothpaste on them.

Let me state that I don’t consider myself a speaker of the Chinese language and I definitely don’t know all of the characters commonly used in their language. Having established that, I can’t tell you for sure what the pictures I am about to share with you say, but I think it is like a get to know your farmer program.

As you can see in the first two pictures, a couple of different types of cabbage are shown. China has several cabbages and I must say they taste very good. The larger cabbage is called “da to cai” which translates out to big head cabbage and yes, I probably didn’t spell that correctly.

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farmers2 Next we have some things we all will recognize – potatoes and cucumbers. The cucumbers in China are like the cabbages in that they come in many different shapes and sizes.

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farmers4My grandparents on my father’s side of the family loved to grow vegetables so I like farmers and I love to eat! I have had the honor to teach the children of many farmers in China. I wish you all could know how humble and hard working they are. In fact, the young lady who was probably my best student was the daughter of a farmer. Also, Global Partners in Life has given scholarships to the children of farmers. They are extraordinarily appreciative of the financial aid given to their child.

Hopefully my stories can help bridge the gap in our cultures and help us to see how much we have in common! Perhaps one day you can join me on a trip and get to know some of the wonderful people of China!

Cabbage

March 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

OK, so this title isn’t very catchy, but it is descriptive, because cabbage is what I am writing about today. In China there are many types of cabbage. The one most of us in the States are used to eating translates out to “big head cabbage” in the Chinese language, but that isn’t the one I will tell you about today.

The cabbage I want to inform you about today is longer and thinner than the round cabbage we enjoy in the States. This particular cabbage is very commonly eaten in China and is grown in abundance.

In the winter, some people would consider this cabbage a staple. In the fall, when it is harvested, it is laid out to dry, so it is very common to see all around town.

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As you can see, this cabbage is large and it can be heavy. I have heard stories about how people will have shallow shelves at the top of their walls to hold their cabbage in the winter. Also, I have heard stories of the cabbage falling and hitting people in the head and hurting them badly. So, to be safe, keep your eyes open for falling cabbage in China!

Shanghai has an enormous population; that means that a lot of food needs to be readily available for everyone.  The photo below was taken near Shanghai. It lets me know that the ability to grow crops near the city does exist, so transportation would be simple and inexpensive.  As you can see in the photo below, the soil looks rich.

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Honestly, I have never grown rice, but it looks like it may require more than one person to tend the crops.  Maybe one person holds the rice plants together, and another person ties them in a bundle.

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China has an amazing system of growing fresh fruits and vegetables, even in the winter.  I have seen a huge area of land covered with green houses, and they produce an amazing amount of food for the country.  It is very impressive to be in northern China in the winter and enjoy eating fresh watermelon, for example.  By the way, in China, the exterior of the watermelon may be carved into a beautiful design by someone in the kitchen.  I think the most impressive design I have seen was a swan, which was amazingly detailed.  It is very common in China for people to go to the morning market to get the fruit and vegetables they want for the day.  This way they know their food is very fresh and hand selected.

China is the home of many farmers and I tip my hat to them. They don’t always have all of the equipment they would like to have, yet they are able to provide for their families through their hard work. I often wonder how they stay positive about their careers, because a flood or drought could ruin all of their hard labor.

Since the farmers work hard, they need a good place to rest, so I wanted to show you what many of their homes look like.  This first one is in a rural area of the Shandong Province, in the eastern section of China, where there are many very old chestnut trees (they export chestnuts around the world). I have seen bricks made in many places as I have traveled in China, so I am sure the framers want a good and inexpensive product for building their homes.

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This next home is in the Shanxi Province, which is in the central section of China. Many different fruit trees and vegetables grown in this area. The terrain isn’t as flat as the picture above from the Shandong Province, so I am sure that leads to some agricultural challenges and opportunities. Additionally, they raise sheep in the area as well.

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In the northern parts of the country, many farmers will sleep on a bed called a kang. The kang is a large concrete bed where the entire family may sleep in the winter. A fire is built under the kang and the hot coals will keep people warm all night long.  I have never slept on a kang, but I am told they are a very effective way to stay warm in the bitter cold of northern China.

 

 

 

 

Wheat

July 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

If you are fortunate enough to travel in China, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes open: you never know what you might see! While visiting one city near a mountain many people like to climb, I saw how, when it is time to harvest the wheat, local farmers will spread the wheat on the road, dirt or paved, and let the traffic thresh the wheat. I had never seen that done before, but it made sense to me. As I got closer to the mountain, I was walking down a dirt alley and came across another way to process the wheat. This stone wheel made me wonder how old it was and how hard it must be to manually move the wheel over the wheat.  I think I have seen a larger one of these before; it was large enough to use a horse or donkey to make it work. Wheat07102014