On using completely organic measures to plant, the issues faced during this first year of starting out anew, translated…
At the end of November, the oranges came out, and, the orange tree we’d “adopted”, started becoming ripened too, and, we’d set out on a weekend at the start of December, to harvest them.
Wen-Fu was a fruit farmer from the East Mountains of Tainan, five years ago, he took over operating the fruit farm from his own father, he’d harvested the Longan fruits in the summers, and oranges in the winters. In the orange farms, he’d selected a few sprouts of orange trees, and started reducing the pesticides. Different from his experiences of planting from before, he’d needed to, figure out how he was to fertilize, how he was to keep the pests away, and, there’s that, seriously hitting cold weather of 2016 that came, along with the warming up of the winter season toward the end of 2016, his first year as a planter, he’d, stumbled, quite a lot.
vegetable planted using organic measures, NO pesticides!!! Not my photo…
Although he’d had the support of his family members, and a team from his locale, Wen-Fu was still very anxious. The oranges from before didn’t have a special name, and, during the harvest, everybody’s planted fruits were all mixed up together, how good the fruits were, how they’d looked, the buyers knew right away, and none of the planters would take responsibilities. And now, the caretaker of the oranges became the key character, from flowering, growing fruits, the fruits ripening, every single move of the farmers were taken in by the shareholders! And, this sort of pressure not only challenged the passions, the management skills of the farmers, but also, it’s a matter of face too!
From the Chiayi Station of the HSR, driving on the dirt roads for about forty minutes, we’d entered into Dongyuan, and, Wen-Fu’s fruit farm is about fifteen minutes away by car from town. As we got out, the family had prepared the freshly baked dried longan, longan teas, and we’d sat, for our “board meeting”. I’d heard Wen-Fu talked of the conditions this year, not only were the oranges slow to ripen, it’d looked dried up on the outside, plus, there’s a raid of the citrus mealybugs, and, although the fruits were all bagged up for protection, but, it’d still not defeated the appetite of the citrus mealybugs at all. The bugs that started taking in the nutrients at the buds, gathered around the branches, close to the fruits, kept eating away at it, until the budding turned black, and the oranges fall off the trees way too soon. But other than that, those oranges that were able to ripen on the vines still tasted very well, full of juice.
The meeting’s over now, and, time to work, everybody got a pair of scissors, with a sack, Wen-Fu told us, that we should touch the bottom of the oranges, and, feel how bloated the fruits were, and, those that bounced back, were the ones that we can pluck. We’d peeled back the paper bags, with one hand on the fruit, and, cut the first cut four, five centimeters above the cap, then, after that, we’d only needed to cut again, by the caps. Wow! This, is way easier, than having to bend our backs, to harvest up the rice!
the volunteers, taking off the insects by hand, this is hard work, but it’s a guarantee, that you won’t have any pesticides in your foods! Not my photograph…
But, it’s still, somewhat not that easy, to do it ourselves. Why? As the bugs crawled over the stems, us ladies from the cities, had difficulties, finding the place to cut. We’d blown air towards them hard, but, they’re still, comfy, right where they all were; so, we’d, pushed them aside one by one, too time-consuming. If we’d, just cut, then, there would be, a few bugs that’s faced their own end, and now, we’d, battled on, we’d needed to, take care of the people, the fruits, or, do we, look after the lives of these, small insects? The production line was, at a halt all of a sudden, seeing how the local farming ladies had, cut off the harvested fruits without a second thought, their bags filled up quick, and yet, my bag was still, quite empty. So, I’d, comforted myself, that I’m still, trying, to get the hang of this, and needed to hold more conversations with the fruits first, to feel this fruit farm, full of life.
To tell the truth, we’d had, a difficult time, turning around the operating measures, do we try it again next year? But, Wen-Fu didn’t back away, and, toward the problem of these insect pests, the close by farmers all chipped in, to help us find a viable solution.
Because I’d met Wen-Fu, and became a small part of this production line, I’d felt, connected, to the oranges in my hand, and learned, how unfamiliar I actually was, toward the productions, and gave myself more affirmations for being a farmer now; and this was, a step for the community farming methods, we’d learned from one another, helped each other out, and, from all angles, we’d, guarded up the production networks locally.
Doesn’t CSA contribute to the GDP of agriculture? I’m afraid not, but, it’s something that the producers and the consumers can start on their own.
So, it is, NOT that easy, to start a brand new method of doing something, like this was this farmer’s first year of trials of planting using ONLY organic measures, and, there’s still, a LOT to learn about how to plant the produces organically, without any pesticides, but, they’re, getting there, with the support of their fellow farmers, I’m sure, that this small orange farm will be up and running in no time at all, plus, the fruits they’d produced, are without anything added, no pesticides to worry about!