Fun on the Farm

Fun on the Farm

How much do you know about farming in Taiwan? Have you ever wondered about how the rice goes from the plant to your plate? Nowadays people’s interest in their food and its journey from farm to table is growing and quite rightly so. If you buy local produce, it’s better for the environment and it’s even better if it’s grown organically. Taiwan has a lot of small farmers and small market gardeners that work a small plot of land to grow organic produce.

Farm Visit

The Happiness Farm, nestled in the hills northeast of Tamsui, is one such place. It’s a small family business that grows rice and other vegetables. They also offer tours to explain how produce is grown and harvested. When I visited a couple of years ago it was an enlightening experience.

You can walk around the farm to see what is growing. Obviously, this will vary depending on the time of year you visit. You can stroll down to the rice fields to see at what stage the rice is at. You also have the chance to see what other vegetables have been planted. When I visited, the rice plants were growing but the grains hadn’t appeared yet. There were long, fat loofahs hanging down from the vinesfrom vine and bright blue pea flowers. My friend Mayuko, from Japan, was very happy to find mallow leaf, also known as moroheiya which is a superfood, very rich in vitamins and minerals.

Learn about Farming Processes

It’s not all about growing the produce though. For instance, rice is offered in all Taiwanese restaurants and is one of the cheapest items on the menu. However, it needs careful nurturing to grow and flourish. It also needs protection from snails and other hungry insects. Once the rice is mature it has to go through several processes before it is ready to be cooked. First it isIt has to be harvested and threshed. The grains is then need to be dehulled to remove the papery shell around each grain and winnowed to separate the grains from the chaff. That leaves you with brown grains of rice. If you want white rice you need to mill the rice to remove the brown bran covering. All this before it makes it into the bag of rice you will take off the shelf in the shop!

Happiness Farm agriculturalist with Rice bundles and threshing machine
Happines Farm Fresh Food Lunch

The main farm building is full of old and new farm equipment, so you can see how rice was harvested and processed versusand how it is done now. The farmer is very patient in explaining the whole process. It was fascinating for me as I come from a country where rice doesn’t grow, so I had no idea it was so complicated.

Fresh Food

As well as looking around the farm, you also get to taste the vegetables. We had a delicious lunch with green beans, okra, plantain, mushrooms, chestnuts and, of course, rice. We washed this down with some different teas, including blue pea tea which iswas bright blue with a distinctively flowery flavor.

Happy Farm Loompah-like Loofahs
Happy Farm Center Tour

If you would like to learn more about local farms and the challenges they face then pay a visit to this farm. The easiest way is to join The Center tour with Ivy scheduled on the 28th of March.
You can register here: Organic Farm Tour and Lunch

~Lucy Torres

Lucy Torres

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