A precious gift from nature
|A 30-year-old tree of Dien Pomelo in Phu Dien ward, Bac Tu Liem district, Hanoi/ Photo: Thoi Nguyen|
Dien Pomelo or the pomelo planted in Dien village of Bac Tu Liem district in the west of Hanoi center is a precious specialty that nature has bestowed on Hanoi capital in particular and the country in general.
According to Hanoian elderlies, this Dien Pomelo once used to be a a special tribute to the King. Even in the old times, Dien Pomelo was planted sparsely and only wealthy families could have chance to enjoy this precious fruit. Nowadays, together with orange from Canh, so-called ‘Cam Canh’, and pomelo from Dien village or ‘Buoi Dien’ are two Hanoi’s specialties, which are renowned among fruit connoisseurs nationwide. Traditionally, Dien pomelo is a very valuable gift for Tet holiday.
Dien Pomelo possesses a fresh delicious taste that no other pomelo or grapefruit could compare. Being far different from other kinds of pomelos and grapefruits that are grown throughout Vietnam, the fruit not only has a refreshing sweet taste but also long lasting fragrant.
Over the past years, the local authority of Phuc Dien ward (in Bac Tu Liem district) had realized about the economic value of Dien pomelo. Unlike other pomelo varieties, the Dien pomelo can be kept up to four months without any preservatives. People are advised to let the fruit’s skin dry to enjoy its full taste.
Thank to these unique characteristics that people of Phu Dien ward was encouraged to grow this kind of pomelo largely. In these modern days, some scientific advances are also applied to improve the yield as well as the quality of the crop.
The golden good crop
|Good crop but low price: This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the price falls slightly, at around VND40,000 to VND50,000 (US$1.7) per fruit.|
We visit Phuc Dien one day in late December, when the locals are busily collecting the fruits. The pomelo farm of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dao's family is lush with thousands of Pomelos burdened by thousands of golden ripe fruits. Mrs. Dao's family is one among the households that owning largest pomelo garden in the ward. She plants Dien pomelo in an acreage of around 10,000 sqm. For Dao, ensuring hygiene and safety as well as improving quality of fruit are top priority.
“Every year, after harvesting the fruits, I usually fertilize our plants with organic fertilizer that made from soybeans and corn, with a quantity of around five kilograms each tree. In addition, we also use high-quality imported fertilizers to help the tree to bear more fruits,” said Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dao, a Dien pomelo grower in Phuc Dien ward in Bac Tu Liem district, Hanoi.
According to Dao, her entire family income earns round VND300 million (or US$13,000) per year from Dien pomelo cultivation, and between 6,000 and 7,000 fruits are harvested annually. The price for a fruit of ‘Buoi Dien’ is usually from VND50,000 to VND60,000 (US$2). This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the price falls slightly, at around VND40,000 to VND50,000 (US$1.7) per fruit only.
As the local authority reports, Phuc Dien has one of the three largest pomelo growing area in Bac Tu Liem district in Hanoi. In Phuc Dien ward alone, some 35 hectares out of a total of 45 hectares of farmland land, is under Dien pomelo cultivation.
When the weather turns cold, it’s the best time for Dien Pomelo harvesting season. The heavy pomelo grapes with shiny yellow color are also ideal theme for photos.
Every November and December each year, the pomelo orchards in Phuc Dien ward are bustling with fruit harvesters and trucks lining up waiting to be loaded with pomelo. This is also the time that Hanoians are preparing for their up-coming traditional Tet festival, thus, they flock here to buy the fruit as gifts or ancestor worshiping, and also, for family consuming during the most special days of the year.
“We launch a movement among local people, making full use of the idle areas to grow pomelo. In Phuc Dien wards, the oldest pomelo tree could be over 30 years old, whilst the younger plant is around 15 to 20 years old. Averagely, we planted 25 trees in every 1000 sqm. We harvested around 2500 pomelo fruit last year. Of this amount, we keep 500 for family consumption. On average, we earn around VND3 billion or US$129,000 per hectare yearly,” said Mr. Nguyen Van Hau, Secretary of Quarter 1, Phuc Dien ward, Bac Tu Liem district, Hanoi.
In the harvesting season, the pomelo orchards have attracted not only wholesale buyers but also visitors who come to take photos and buy some fruits as well. The heavy pomelo grapes with shiny yellow color are ideal theme for photos.
People of Phuc Dien ward always proud of owning such a precious gift from nature that they insisted that “Pomelo from Dien has been grown elsewhere in the north of Vietnam but only in Phuc Dien ward could the fruit have a unique and distinctive fragrance and deliciousness.”