China 2017

I spent some time in China in early 2017 to study and observe their farms. I observed the markets first and found the food prices have the last 2 years. The wet markets ( farmer markets) are out of bounds for me due to the Bird Flu that is now in the USA too. My diet includes local food and Western food. Lunch is usually at a trusted restaurant and supper is normally cooked at our apartment. I soak vegs in vinegar and water for at least 20 minutes and rinse them twice. All water is bottled and then sent through our Berkley filter. Needless to say we use a lot of water. I have noticed the poisons used to grow  produce can cause me to have a reaction.

There has been press indicating blue dies have been used in the green produce to give them a more green look for the appearance of freshness.Food poisoning and migraines are minimized by my careful planning and habits.Stopping at farms to see their applications when traveling outside the city of GZ has been an interesting experience. I have seen farms growing : rice  strawberry, kale, peas, greens, papaya, banana, a low vegetable that seems to spread, garlic, onion ( white and red), peppers, tomatoes, squash, melons and much more.  used raised rows except for rice.

The low tunnels are used often for control of the plant’s environment. I have to say most low tunnels were only 3 feet tall, while others were 5 to 6  for such plants as grapes. Walking isles between rows were as little as 6 inches and some tunnels touched each other . Farmers and workers would have poles with baskets tied to them to collect their pickings. Acres and Acres of tunnels of various sizes were used on most farms. Even thou the soil seemed silts in some locations and some constituting clay (as in USA Georgia with that deep red color); the same type of plants thrived in all locations.

The people in China do not tolerated many GMOs but there are in the markets. There are poisons for weed control and pest control as there are in the States…. making everything much easier to maintain. Synthetic fertilizers are used also.

I have not seen new variations of plants introduced or encouraged during my travels. The flavors are superb by including…gingers, hot peppers, many sauces ( oyster, fish, soys, terriyaki, vinegar) enhance the dishes 10 fold. Traditional and the familiar flourish int he markets hence farmers seem not to stray far with experimentation with new produce.

One farm that had many high tunnels for at least several miles was unreachable for me to visit. I took note of the quarters for the helpers (migrant workers) and marveled at their abilities. I hope I can visit such a farm in the future. I would love to see their crop rotation and marketing projections to meet demand.

Cameras are shunned at farms for their operations are prize privacy to keep competition at bay by not sharing information.

What did I learn in China for Sweeterra Farm? I have learned to minimalize space and use smaller baskets as opposed to large ones. Also less plants of one kind for more variation of others. For instance…why  not have 5 different lettuces and only 20 of each instead of 2 types ( 100 of each) growing at one time. I loved the idea of using branches to support make shift low tunnels and sometimes implementing high dead weeds as posts for peas. 6 inch isles between my rows instead of 18 to 12 inches is possible too. Sun protection at all times when summer is at her best to moderate temperature to maximize productivity.

The culture in China is very very different than the USA’s culture, values, morals and ethics. It is a county all of it’s own, growing and devouring knowledge at any cost. I believe the ancient ways are probably more similar to our own than the modern day China. There is much that is great in China in agriculture and in many other fields of study.




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