WE HAD a most enjoyable experience picking the luscious lychee fruits at the Fairy Lake Leisure Farm in Dongshan, Tainan County, Taiwan in the afternoon of June 17 and morning of June 18, 2014, together with Jimmy Cheng of the United Daily News and a group of travel agency executives. Fairy Lake Leisure Farm is a 52-hectare nature farm that produces organic fruits like lychee, longan, oranges and Arabica coffee.
Of course, picking the luscious lychee fruits was a most unforgettable experience for every member of the group, especially this blogger, Zac B. Sarian, who is most interested in exotic fruits.
Many of the trees that are heavily laden with ripe fruits are very low-growing. Many of the fruit clusters are as low as two feet from the ground. And you don’t have to exert a lot of effort to reach for them. In between picking, we also enjoyed eating the juicy fruits. We could have eaten about a kilo of the newly picked fruits while on the orchard. And we had two plastic bags to take out. All the ten of us in the group had a plastic bag or two of fruits to take out after eating all the fruits we could eat.
Lychee picking peaks in the last weeks of May or the early part of June every year. The farm has three hectares of mature lychee trees that bear fruit each year. We are told, however, that after a bumper harvest, it is followed by a leaner harvest. This year, 2014, it is bumper harvest.
The farm produces a lot of fruits but most of them are not sold in the market where the price may just be about 40 – 60 New Taiwan dollars or P64 to P96 per kilo. That’s cheap if we compare the selling price of the same in Manila. Most of the harvest is picked by people who go to the farm to enjoy harvesting their own fruits. The visitors pay NT$100 (about P160) as entrance fee. With that they can eat all the fruits they care to eat. However, if they have to take out some fruits that they harvest, they have to pay the usual price per kilo in the market.
Pick, eat and pay is a good business for Fairy Lake Leisure Farm which is managed by 30-year-old Strong Wu. He is a sixth generation farmer to manage the farm. The farm is well cared for with just 10 young permanent workers. There are of course workers who are on an on-call basis like when harvesting has to be done for the market.
By the way, the travel agency executives who went with us to visit the 12 leisure farms included Jane Chen, Helen Hao, Lin Tiu, King Tiu, Vernon Prieto, Allan C. K. Sze, Melrose Ocaya and Irene Binag. The invitation was extended to us by the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association through Mr. Leo Fang who is in charge of international marketing. The association has about 300 leisure farm members.
Expect to read more about the interesting observations we made during our trip, here in this blog as well as in the Manila Bulletin publications that include the daily newspaper, the Panorama magazine, the monthly Agriculture Magazine and the vernacular magazines that include Liwayway, Bannawag, Bisaya and Hiligaynon.