Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

By Bich Phuong   June 23, 2023 | 01:12 am PT
In the month of June, Nong Cong District in Thanh Hoa Province transforms into a sea of green, as sedge fields stretch out, bordered by the Yen River.
Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

Dan Khoi, a photographer residing in Hanoi, embarked on a journey to the Nong Cong District in early June.

This marked his second visit to Nong Cong, as he was captivated by the sedge fields, which resembled a giant emerald carpet, and he enjoyed the local climate. Although Nong Cong experiences scorching heat during the day in June, it cools down in the afternoons due to its proximity to the sea.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

Situated in the southeast of Thanh Hoa Province, Nong Cong District is approximately 51 kilometers away from the center of Thanh Hoa City, the province's capital.

Travelers from Hanoi can reach this destination by taking the Mai Son-National Highway 45, with a journey time of about three hours. During his stay, Khoi spent two days in the Truong Giang and Truong Trung communes, documenting the landscapes and the local way of life.

Enhancing the fame of Thanh Hoa's sedge granaries is the Yen River, encircling the fields, meandering through various sections. The photo captures a dawn scene on the Yen River, with adjacent sedge fields ready for harvest.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

When people think of sedge in Thanh Hoa, Nga Son District often comes to mind, which is known as a traditional sedge mat making village. However, there is also Nong Cong, which is one of the largest sedge granaries in the region. Following the harvest, the sedge from Nong Cong is supplied to mat weaving establishments and handicraft producers in Nga Son District as well as Thai Binh Province.

The sedge fields in Truong Trung Commune have not yet undergone much harvesting. Simple shelters are placed amid the fields for a midday respite.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

According to Khoi, the profession of sedge making is difficult, especially during the scorching harvest period, when laborers endure the heat and the dry wind. The locals begin their work around 2 or 3 a.m., lighting up the fields to commence cutting and drying the sedge.

This must be completed before 9 a.m. to avoid the intense sunlight. As the weather cools around 4 p.m., the people resume their fieldwork for another 4 to 5 hours before returning home.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

After reaping, the farmers straighten the sedge stalks, which tower as tall as the field laborers themselves.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

Freshly harvested sedge is left to dry under the sunshine for approximately one week. In the event of rain or insufficient sunlight, additional time is required for drying. Therefore, sedge harvesting generally occurs on hot, sunny days. The sedge can be dried whole or cut into smaller pieces. If the sun is consistent, smaller pieces of sedge require about three days to dry.

The sedge fields in Truong Giang Commune are currently undergoing this process. Once the sedge is cut, the trunks are left to dry directly on the field.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

Presently, the people of Nong Cong are fully occupied with the early summer harvest.

Following the harvest, the sedge fields will be fertilized and nurtured for approximately 20 days until the next crop in September. Sedge grows naturally and needs to be replanted after a period of 10 to 15 years.

Summer sedge fields turn Thanh Hoa district green

Farmers in Nong Cong still rely predominantly on sedge and rice cultivation for their livelihoods. Khoi said that the scenery here exuded tranquility, as the local people engage in valuable traditional occupations.

"Rather than opting for the familiar Sam Son Beach, families can spend the weekends in this rural setting, allowing their children to explore the towering sedge fields and learn about sedge mat weaving materials and handicrafts," Khoi said.

As of now, Nong Cong has yet to develop a tourism infrastructure. However, visitors can find accommodations at some motels in Nong Cong Town, approximately 5 kilometers away from the sedge fields of Truong Giang and Truong Trung.

Photos by Dan Khoi

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