After our two-week whirlwind trip back to my homeland Taiwan, 40 hours of total travelling time back to Canada, and one week of recuperating from jet lag, I’m finally feeling slightly more normal. We had a wonderful time visiting family and sightseeing, and even learned a little bit about farming in Taiwan.
During our trip down the east coast of the island, we ate at this little traditional family restaurant by the road. We learned that all the vegetables we had for supper were grown right behind the restaurant, so after we stuffed ourselves, we went out back and toured the owner’s vegetable garden. The setting was beautiful, nestled among the vast fields of rice paddies with layers of mountains and clouds in the backdrop. He was so gracious and humble about his garden as he showed us around and answered our many questions. He talked about how he tries his best to not use any chemical pesticides and fertilizers, how he ran out of room on the ground for his squash so he had to move them onto the trellis, and his large variety of crops.
What struck me most was that although there may be all sorts of cultural differences between us and this man, when you start talking about growing vegetables in your backyard, those differences disappear.
This is a field of bananas and pineapples further down the east coast.
A young pineapple.
These are Bananas wrapped up in bags. Someone told me that to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides, bananas, among other fruits in Taiwan are wrapped up by hand, which is partly why organic produce cost more than the conventional ones.
A tea farm. There are tea leaf picking machines, but if you want to enter national and international competitions, you must pick and select the individual leaves by hand.
This is the best picture we have of rice paddies, taken from a moving train. We were told that the rice grown on the east coast of the island is better than the west coast since the east has very little industry and factories, and the water the rice is grown in comes straight from the Central Mountain Range .
After enjoying the warm temperatures of Taiwan for two weeks (27C), we came back to 0C and blustery winds. We also found out that while we were away, a flock of Canada geese has moved in onto our field! I hear geese manure is good for pasture, and they have been so entertaining to watch.