February 11, 2014
Fruit Picking in Taipei
I have mentioned before that we are often asked where you can pick fruit in Taiwan, and as I have also mentioned before, the days of industry and farming in Taipei seem to have gone. So after I saw a news clip on TV about people picking strawberries in Taipei, I had to follow up.
After some research, I discovered that there is a region in Neihu in northern Taipei called Dahu where you can indeed pick fruit and vegetables depending on the season (http://english.taipei.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=35376829&ctNode=36810&mp=100002). In fact, there are around 15 farms in this area, although they are not all open to the public and some require you to make an appointment before you visit. We chose Refresh Farm (http://www.refresh.com.tw/).
It’s fairly easy to get to the farm area. Take the MRT to the Dahu Park station, and then I would recommend taking a taxi from there. It isn’t far (around NT$150) and uphill most of the way. Do bring the name and address of the farm you would like to visit in Chinese though as the taxi driver may not know the area.
As I mentioned, the drive is not far, but it is interesting. I was skeptical when our driver set off seemingly through town, but then in one turn the buildings stopped and countryside began. It is mountainous as you would expect in Taiwan, and the farm area has great views over small mountains into Taipei.
The first thing that struck us was how fertile the land was; there are fruit and vegetables in every available piece of land from pomelos to mushrooms, sweet potatoes to chilli peppers. And of course, strawberries. The second thing that struck us was that there were no strawberries. Well there were, but none that we could pick. It turns out that they have a certain amount that are ripe each week, and if they are all picked you have to wait until the following week. We didn’t turn up until the afternoon, so if it’s strawberries you are after make sure you are there first thing (9 am).
The strawberries are planted in large greenhouses, so there is some protection from the elements. When we went, it was chilly and wet (typical for strawberry season in Taiwan), but it didn’t really spoil the experience. The views seem to suit the clouds hanging over the hills. In lieu of the strawberries, we went to pick mushrooms and oranges. An umbrella and waterproofs were helpful.
There are a number of “DIY” projects for children, such as making strawberry jam (you can also buy ready-made jam, marmalade and ice cream). The staff were superb with the children; they took the time to explain how the mushrooms were grown and how to pick them. It really created a family feeling, and if you have the chance to experience that in Taiwan you really should. I’ve written before that the best thing about Taiwan is the people, and after we came back from the farm we all had a warm fuzzy feeling.
We were lucky enough to be given a lift back to the MRT station by another family we met at the farm, but if you need a taxi you can ask the farm to help. There is virtually no passing traffic at all, so don’t rely on being able to hail a cab outside.
So if you have the urge to get out of the city quickly and easily, I highly recommend Refresh Farm. Lovely views, lovely people, and lovely produce. Can’t beat that!
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