I Want the Rest of My Life with You, Making a Wish with Functional Foods

Asides from the Hakka compounds and Romantic Provincial Highway 3, tourists have a new choice less traveled, The Palate Provincial Highway 6. Be it a hipster trip or a family trip with fur kids, after Double Tenth Holiday when it was not so cold yet, we recommend to arrange a mouth-watering foodie trip to taste the less known fruit, Indian gooseberry. Let's visit the Hakka city in the mountains,

Gongguan Township in Miaoli on Provincial Highway 6.

Golden Town Recreation Farm and Chuanlong Tofu Shop

When you come to Provincial Highway 6 where Golden Town Recreation Farm is located, we suggest to have a bowl of the signature douhua in Chuanlong Tofu Shop. The traditional flavor is made by non genetic modified soy beans grown in Taiwan and the natural brine from the brine pan in Qigu Tainan.
If not in a rush, make an appointment with the shop to DIY douhua so to get a feel of the authentic and fragrant douhua. You will be surprised at the quality of Taiwan soy beans.

Chuanlongzun Trail and Me Jujube Orchard

Chuanlongzun, an aqueduct running through Gongguan Township, built in 1840 with the water source from Houlong River in Fuji Village, Gongguan Township. In the early days, the water in the aqueduct also served as residents’ drinking water, Therefore, it was prohibited to do the laundry or wash the diapers or urine buckets before 6 am, so the aqueduct is also called “shishuizun (a drinking water duct)”
Along with the duct of Chuanlongzun, visitors can see the waterway made by pebbles from Houlong River, and the waterway for fish and shrimps to hide or take a rest is different from other cement ducts without shelters or hideouts. Gongguan Township is also at the upstream of Houlong River, therefore, it is more likely to get unpolluted water and an opportunity to grow produce organically. Me Jujube Orchard is in such an environment and produces organic jujube famous across Taiwan and it has driven the whole village to grow crops or fruits organically.

The Chuanlongzun Trail takes about 20 minutes walking, visitors either strolled around or stopped and looked around.

Me Jujube Orchard’s main garden is in Shiqiang Village, a variety of plants such as jujube, Indian gooseberry, Florist's daisy are grown organically here by seasons. After Cold Dew is the season of Indian Gooseberry. “The Cat School” formed by the owner of Me Jujube Orchard and a group of young farmers and volunteers led the guided tour to introduce the Indian Gooseberry planted in Miaoli in recent years.
The Indian Gooseberry trees were fruit-laden, adults can easily reach the fruits and the school kids can also touch the low hanging fruits. The earth friendly practice in the orchard makes it an ideal destination for friends or families to come and pick fruits. The Indian Gooseberry tastes sour and astringent in the beginning, and gradually a bit sweet in a few seconds. Its sugar level is very different from those of other Taiwanese fruits. Though categorized as fruit, the fruit is with cold nature so that few Taiwanese people consume it as a fruit.

An earth friendly natural garden, Me Jujube Orchard makes efforts and revives the rare fruit in Taiwan, Indian Gooseberry.

DIY Preserved Indian Gooseberry and Enzyme

The owner of the orchard, Shuhui CHEN and members of the Cat School taught us how to make preserved Indian Gooseberry and drinkable enzyme with sugar. The steps and tools are simple, but it takes time to process the marble sized fruit and therefore, it is a perfect chit chatting time to have conversations with friends or family members.

The preserved fruits are made right after they are picked. The Indian Gooseberry and granulated sugar makes it taste sweet and sour.

The clean Indian Gooseberry looks like round and clear marbles

Trreeo Natural Farm

Trreeo Natural Farm is between Tongluo and Sanyi Township, and here natural farming with enzymes is adopted to grow the crops. The farm is divided into 3 layers to grow diversified plants, the highest layer is for Indian Gooseberry, the second layer Roselle/ Coffee trees and the third layer is herbaceous plants such as water bamboos/turmeric. The name of the farm “Trreeo” with a sound like “trio”, has multiple meanings- the 3 dimensional plantation as well as “original, organic, orchard” which are the beliefs of the founder, Mr. Yunalong FAN. He insists on ways friendly to the earth, people and farmers themselves.

Mr. FAN’s trreeo philosophy is manifested in the diversity of trees and friendliness to the environment. (Courtesy: Jiawei ZHANG)

Mr. FAN used to be an sales agent for chemical products of a foreign company. He had a heart attack in 2008 and was sent to Singapore from Indonesia for a surgery. After coming back to Taiwan, he decided to slow down and overhaul his lifestyle. Accidentally, He undertook the business “Huixiang Organic” in Tongluo.
Xinlong Village is organically certified with well managed soil and lands, Mr. FAN who knew nothing about farming then, went to Japan to learn the MOA Nature Farming practices that are friendly to the earth and the farmers, and the trip made him more determined to pursue natural farming.

Overhauling his lifestyle, Mr.FAN devoted himself to the brand new field that he never knew before and immersed himself in the world of natural farming.

After the surgery, Mr.FAN regained his health balance by using various side products of Indian Gooseberry so that he decided to grow it. Indian Gooseberry trees have a slightly special astringent smell, and it has not many pests, the major one is coffee stemborer. The first 4 years were Mr.FAN and his family’s exploration/trial and error period. The coffee stemborer lay eggs on the trunk, which leads to dry leaves and fallen branches, so the fruits fall down as well. The FANs mockingly said “God helps those who help themselves.”
Later on, Mr.FAN found environmental friendly enzyme, which is made from fruit peels and vegetables, and he sprays the fermented liquid on the branches and leaves, waters the soil so that the plants on the farm get enough nutrients, it also helps prevent pests while insects and animals can live on this land. On this bio-diversified and stereoscopic farm, “ecological balance is stricken by maintaining 15% insects on the land” said Mr.FAN. And this farm is a perfect embodiment of “sustainable love” to Indian Gooseberry and the second half of his life.

Trreeo insists on sustainable ways to rid the pests on the farm while strike an ecological balance.

This is a farm where lady bugs and pangolin come stay. Adults and kids can relaxingly feel the nature- the tree sounds in the wind, the river stream running through, the singing cicada and chirping birds; in the trio of the nature, the earth opens our five senses in her gentle way.

Why not make a wish and pray for safety in your trip to the Indian Gooseberry in Miaoli?