Autumn's Bounty Meinong's White Jade Raddish 秋季限定 美濃白玉蘿蔔
Meinong's White Jade Raddish
◎English written by Lin Yi-chun
◎Photos by Yang Chan-hua, Chang Wen-cheng, Hou Ya-ting
November is Meinong's month for harvesting local crops. One of these local favorites is the White Jade Radish that has over taken tobacco as the region's primary crop. White Jade Radish usually peaks during the last two months of the year and people now flock to Meinong to enjoy this wonderful winter vegetable.
Zhong Yalun is Meinong Famer's Association Director of Marketing and states he has witnessed the decline of tobacco farms. However, there are now over 270 hectares dedicated to the harvest of White Jade Radish, which costs only 10 NT per Taiwanese catty (600 grams). White Jade Radish is thought to be a good replacement for tobacco as it allows for fields to be utilized once again after the rice harvest. White Jade Radish only take 45 days to grow and only one week between the first batches going to market and the last ones being plucked from the earth.
White Jade Radishes may seem meager compared to regular sized radishes, with has a finer, silkier texture and an elegant fragrance. Meinong's soil is also not too dense and has the right balance of dryness and moisture to produce the perfect White Jade Radish. The perfectly white, almost translucent vegetable also doesn't need to be peeled before they are cooked. However, they must be thoroughly washed.
In 2006, Meinong Farmer's Association was encouraged by the popularity of the vegetable and created the White Jade Radish Festival. The success was overwhelming and has been running annually ever since. This year's festival included an open radish field in front of the Hakka Cultural Center. Visitors got to experience the radish harvest first hand and gave children the opportunity to pull their own radishes. There was also an open banquet with delicious dishes featuring the radish as the main ingredient. It was estimated the banquet had approximately one thousand in attendance. The festival is an exciting event so come on out this year and enjoy the best radish cuisine Meinong has to offer.