ON April 10, 2016, your blogger, Zac B. Sarian, visited the Wang Shan Leisure Farm in Yilan County, Taiwan, that boasts of 450 varieties of pumpkin that come in unimaginable sizes, shapes, color and texture. We were invited, together with other media persons, by the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association in collaboration with Jane Chen of Everbright Travel Agency.
The pumpkin farm is an organic farm that attracts no less than 60,000 visitors a year. They are not only curious to see the very colorful, weird-looking fruits that come in huge as well as miniature sizes. The farm is managed by 32-yearold Eric Lin who finished college but who opted to be a leisure farmer.
The farm was actually started as a honeydew melon farm by Wang Shan, Eric’s father, who is still active in farming but who has relegated the management of the leisure farm business to his son Eric. Some 18 years ago, the farm was converted into a leisure farm, a business that is visited by tourists from the cities in Taiwan as well as from foreign countries.
Visitors are attracted to the farm because it is only there that they can see the incredible varieties of pumpkins that were collected from all over the world. The various varieties were crossed by the farm owners, resulting in fruits that are hard to imagine.
The leisure farm makes money from the entrance fee of NT$60 per person as well as fees for their recreational Do-It-Yourself (DIY) activities like making your own banana cake with the guidance of an instructor. The cake is cooked right then and there and you enjoy eating what you made.
The big fruits are really expensive. One huge fruit that easily weight 25 to 30 kilos, were told, fetches NT$8,000 which is equivalent to P12,800 in Philippine money. The small ones are mostly for ornamental or decorative purposes such as those used for fruit and floral arrangements. Of course, most of the varieties are used for food. The fruits can be made into powder and used as flour substitute for various food preparations.
Visitors, including this blogger, enjoyed drinking pumpkin juice. There are other preparations like pumpkin milk, pumpkin soya, pumpkin coffee and pumpkin ice cream. The company also sells a lot of souvenir items like pumpkin dolls, biscuits and many others.