Red skin pomelos carefully harvested for a lucky New Year

By Ngoc Thanh   February 4, 2021 | 05:31 pm GMT+7
Farmers in Hanoi's Me Linh District start to harvest pomelos, magically turning from green to yellow over time and then red before Lunar New Year, hence the moniker “gac” pomelo.
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Red skin pomelo fruit trees have been cultivated in Me Linh District for over 60 years. The trees bear fruit with green skin around the eighth lunar month. Its skin gradually turns yellow in the tenth month and reddish orange like a gac fruit around Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which peaks on Feb. 12 this year.
It is common belief in Vietnam that the red color brings good luck, especially on special occasions like Tet. Red envelopes with lucky money, gac sticky rice or red lanterns appear everywhere during Tet.
As a part of a five-fruit tray offered to ancestors at Tet, pomelo is considered a must-have, if it is a red pomelo, all the better.
At Dong Cao Co-operative in Dong Cao Ward, Me Linh District, there are currently 20 orchards that grow this rare type of pomelo. "It requires five years for the tree to bear fruit. Each tree can produce up to 250 pomelos on average," said Luong Van Phuong, chairman of the co-operative.

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In 2015, 30 red skin pomelo fruit trees of Dong Cao Co-operative were officially recognized as "elite trees" by Hanoi's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. They are all over 50 years old and qualified to be preserved for future propagation. The trees have their own designated number together with a traceability QR code.
When the time comes, the fragrant rounded pomelo is unveiled from its protective cover.

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Pomelos are labeled with their stems kept intact.
The fruit is harvested during mid-autumn festival and near Tet as on these days, Vietnamese traditionally decorate their fruit tray offerings with pomelo and other fruit like bananas, kumquats, watermelons or pineapples.

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Top-rated pomelos are stored inside a house for customers and wholesalers. Phuong said supply falls short every year because demand is high. "Customers called me from the tenth lunar month in order to be able to buy the fruit," he said.

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Packaging single pomelos for shipment.
In 2021, Phuong’s household would provide the market with 10,000 pomelos and distribute them to many locations across the country.

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Pomelos that travel a long distance are carefully put in a carton box with a paper buffer to protect the stem from being damaged during shipment.

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Several households even make New Year’s gift baskets full of lucky pomelos.

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A customer comes to pick up his pomelo baskets.
The fruit is distributed to northern localities like Hanoi, Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh Province, and also to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. A pomelo is priced from VND100,000 to VND150,000 ($4.33 - 6.50).

 
 
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