Strolling through northern Vietnam's strawberry fields

By Ngoc Thanh   December 18, 2018 | 09:28 pm GMT+7

A strawberry field in Son La is producing a lot of fruit, and visitors can reap some fresh benefits.

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The strawberry field is located at the foot of mountains in Dong Sang Ward, Moc Chau District, Son La Province, 5 hours northwest of Hanoi. It cultivates Korean and Japanese strawberry varieties. 

The farm, six hectares in area, was formerly a rocky land filled with weeds, considered unsuitable for agriculture. But the weather is suitable for strawberry cultivation. This year, it is expected to harvest 50 tons of fruit, earning nearly half a million dollars.

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The farm’s owner has worked to improve the soil quality. The berries are cultivated in two ways, hydroponics or directly in the soil.

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The workers prune leaves, remove small fruits to save nutrition for the bigger ones, remove bugs and fertilize each root every day.

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The strawberries are also grown in glasshouses and covered with plastic bags. The glasshouses are equipped with irrigation systems designed to prevent flooding.

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Workers say red mites, thrips, black worms, green worms, leaf rollers, and other insects are common strawberry pests.

"If the damage is high, we have to use biological or botanical chemicals to treat it, but once the plant flowers and begins producing fruit, they are handpicked everyday," a worker said.

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The plants are fertilized with organic fertilizers, microorganisms, and irrigated to create moderate moisture.

When the strawberry plant matures, it needs a large amount of nutrients because it is then that it starts bearing flowers and fruit.

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Berries usually ripen in November after three months of planting and harvest season goes on for four months.

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This strawberry farm deploys VietGap cultivation standards. It also welcomes visitors who are allowed to pluck fruits directly. Most of the fruit is sold to supermarket chains and clean food distribution channels.

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"This is the largest strawberry farm in Vietnam. We estimate that this year, 50 tons of strawberries will be harvested, which will have a value of VND10 billion ($429,905)," said Vu Van Luc, the owner.

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The farmer combines strawberry farming with tourism. Visitors are welcome to visit and pick strawberries. It is ideal to do so at the end of the year and right after Lunar New Year.

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Visitors place the berries they have picked in containers to go. Since the beginning of this year, the farm has welcomed thousands of visitors.

 
 
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