每日英語跟讀 Ep.790: Pingtung resident swaps weddings for organic tomatoes
Chiu Meng-hsien, from Pingtung County’s Neipu Township, gave up an earlier career as a wedding banquet designer to become a farmer, buying land and constructing a greenhouse to grow cherry tomatoes. This year, Chiu started to harvest his crop before the start of the Lunar New Year and has been working non-stop throughout the holiday period to be ready to sell to the market.
The 51-year-old, who had no prior experience of farming, says he developed a strong interest toward farming and agriculture while working as a wedding banquet designer, which uses flowers and plants for decoration. Ten years ago, Chiu changed careers, moving to Neipu Township and purchasing 0.4 hectares of land. On two of the plots Chiu constructed a greenhouse to grow cherry tomatoes and oriental melons.
Chiu says that, although a native of Kaohsiung, after seeing the favorable environmental conditions in Neipu Township, he decided to buy land there, aided by an introduction from a friend. He began learning how to grow tomatoes and spent nearly NT$1 million installing facilities. Chiu says he pampers his cherry tomatoes: “You definitely need to give them a house to live in to protect them from the elements, then they will grow really well.”
Out of consideration for food safety and ecology, Chiu decided to apply for organic certification. Since he cannot use chemical fertilizers, Chiu’s orchard is often attacked by tobacco cutworm. To get around this problem, Chiu uses fly papers and employs green lacewings as natural pest control, and also sprays organic pesticides. In order to verify the efficacy of his preventative techniques and treatments, Chiu plucks off leaves and examines them under a microscope to check for signs of hatched insect eggs. Chiu says that although he has no specialist scientific training, he carries out more research than most of his peers and has even received praise from experts at the Pingtung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station.
Chiu says that cherry tomatoes are currently the main variety of small-sized tomato in Taiwan, and their organic variety, in addition to satisfying food safety and health considerations, also have the benefit of not being cloyingly-sweet, with a slight acidity to their flavor profile. Only organic cherry tomatoes can provide consumers with the flavor they are looking for, he says.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/02/05/2003730357