Green Jade: Not your ordinary edamame／翠玉毛豆 品質第一等
Green Jade: Not your ordinary edamame
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
Most people probably don't know the name "Taiwan No.9 Green Soybean", but "Green Jade" may ring a bell. However, the round Green Jade's official name is "Taiwan No.9 Green Soybean". Cishan is recognized for its high-quality edamame which is both popular in Japanese and local markets.
Mr. Hou Jhao-bai's is Cishan's edamame resident expert. Since his father was in the edamame exporting business, he decided to follow in his father's shoes. However Mr. Hou wanted to contribute to more than just work in edamame wholesales. He subsequently founded Bai Sian Agricultural Products Co. Ltd. The company was founded because for more than 40 years Taiwan has always positioned itself as an edamame processing outsourcer, but has never developed its own brand. "What's worse", Mr. Hou explains, "is that Taiwanese outsourcers must slash prices in order to compete in local markets, with the best produce being sold to Japan, leaving the more inferior products for the domestic markets".
It was this dilemma which propelled Mr. Hou into an epic transformation of the local Green Jade business. His plan was to allow farm owners to grow their own produce, develop their own markets, manage their own businesses and run the entire sales chain. In 2000, he distributed harvesting machines to replace the traditional hand-picking method. The plan transformed traditional farming into an entire factory production. His goal has not only increased international exports, but has also made it possible to keep the best produce in the domestic market. Mr. Hou picked "Kaohsiung No.9 Green Soybean" to test out his business model and cultivate the product to his own specification. He then renamed the produce "Taiwan No.9 Green Soybean". These beans are larger, sweeter, fuller and rounder, with a fragrant, chewy texture. Mr. Hou calls it "Green Jade Edamame" due to its bright green appearance. He has had it certified by the Council of Agriculture as a traceable agricultural product. His products now meet quality requirements that guarantee less than a 5% defect rate, an improvement on the previous 10% that was guaranteed for exports to Japan.
Mr. Hou explained green soybeans are harvested twice a year. The first round is planted at the end of January or the beginning of February, with a mid-April harvest. The second round is planted in September and harvested in November. Beans thrive in soil that has a high percentage of sand that provides excellent drainage. However, the soil must also have a good proportion of clay, so it can still be held together. The plants also do well in a climate where the temperature is hot during the day but cool at night, this assists in transforming nutrients into sugar which produces a sweeter Green Jade that is highly sought after by the Japanese.
Cishan is home to 700 hectares of edamame farms. Mr. Hou owns 200 hectares and produces over 300 tons per annum. His beans are exported to Japan, Europe, the Americas, Middle East and South Africa. He is Kaohsiung's King of Edamamen. With Mr. Hou's efforts, the highest quality of Green Jade has become more available in Taiwan, instead of being only available for export. The price per unit is about twice that of regular edamame, but the quality is greatly improved. Hou Jhao-bai's passion for edamame has earned him a great deal of praise and brought him increased orders from the domestic market.
||Bai Sian Agricultural Products Co. Ltd
Telephone: 07- 6611108