Fruitful work: northern highlands district plucks trademark persimmons

In the northern highlands province of Lang Son, Van Lang District farmers are harvesting the distinctively crispy and sweet Vanh Khuyen persimmons.

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In the northern highlands province of Lang Son, Van Lang District farmers are harvesting the distinctively crispy and sweet Vanh Khuyen persimmons.

The Vanh Khuyen persimmons are native to the district, which borders China. The district has a total of 800ha dedicated to persimmons cultivation in the communes of Tan My, Hoang Viet, Hong Thai and Hoang Van Thu, which produce approximately 2400 tons of the fruit every year.   Cultivated on steep hills and mountains, the persimmon trees need careful tending to ensure their growth, including regular weeding.

The Vanh Khuyen persimmons are native to the district, which borders China. The district has a total of 800 ha dedicated to persimmons cultivation in the communes of Tan My, Hoang Viet, Hong Thai and Hoang Van Thu, which produce approximately 2,400 tons of the fruit every year.

Lang Van Chin of Na Puc Hamlet, Hoang Van Thu Commune, uses a long bamboo stick with a cloth bag at one end to harvest the persimmons.

Lang Van Chin of Na Puc Hamlet, Hoang Van Thu Commune, uses a long bamboo stick with a cloth bag at one end to harvest the persimmons.

The harvesting begins at 5 a.m. so as to retain the overnight freshness of the fruits.   Most of these persmisson trees are grown from root-cuttings, not from seeds or branches. As the trees grow bigger, farmers tend to struggle with a pathogen called cersospora arachidicola, which causes dark spots on the trees and plants. If the trees manage to survive, the fruits can be harvested after three years, with output reaching their maximum in the fifth year.

The harvesting begins at 5 a.m. so as to retain the overnight freshness of the fruits.
Persimmon trees are grown from root-cuttings, not from seeds or branches. As the trees grow bigger, farmers tend to struggle with a pathogen called cersospora arachidicola, which causes dark spots on the trees. If the trees manage to survive, the fruits can be harvested after three years, with output reaching their maximum in the fifth year.

Lang Van Vang smiles as he plucks low hanging fruit from his persimmon farm in Po Cai Hamlet, Tan My Commune.   My family has 3ha with about 1000 trees, many around 20 years old. This year’s harvest is quite high, reaching nearly 15 tons. We are selling the fruits for VND15,000 - $0.65 per kilogram, Vang said.

Lang Van Vang smiles as he plucks low hanging fruit from his persimmon farm in Po Cai Hamlet, Tan My Commune.
“My family has 3 ha with about 1,000 trees, many around 20 years old. This year’s harvest is quite high, reaching nearly 15 tons. We are selling the fruits for VND15,000 ($0.65) per kilogram,” Vang said.

Vang said the distinguishing feature of Vanh Khuyen persimmons is a full blossom-like sepal with round fruits, no seeds and a crunchy, sweet taste. As the fruits age, the sepal would appear more defined, which sets a clear aesthetic standard for this area’s produce.

Vang said the distinguishing feature of Vanh Khuyen persimmons is a full blossom-like sepal with round fruits, no seeds and a crunchy, sweet taste. As the fruits age, the sepal would appear more defined, which sets a clear aesthetic standard for this area’s produce.

The Tan My Commune has 284 ha of persimmon farms, with 6 households holding the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP), certifying the clean and safe production methods used locally.   This year’s increased harvestis only enough for the domestic market, Dung (WHO IS DUNG? WHAT’S HIS FULL NAME?) noted.

The Tan My Commune has 284 ha of persimmon farms, with six households holding the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP), certifying the clean and safe production methods used locally.
Tran Anh Dung, Party secretary of the commune, said: “This year’s increased harvest is only enough for the domestic market.”

Harvesting takes a lot of time, so usually gather the fruits by some tree stumps to take a break before taking them down to sell. In four hours, my partner and I were able harvest around 50 kg, said Hoang Van Minh, a resident of Thong Nhat Hamlet.

“Harvesting takes a lot of time, so we usually gather the fruits by some tree stumps to take a break before taking them down to sell. In four hours, my wife and I were able harvest around 50 kg,” said Hoang Van Minh, a resident of Thong Nhat Hamlet.

[With farms some distance away from their homes, locals also set gathering points before transporting all the fruits back home on motorbikes.

With farms some distance away from their homes, locals set gathering points before transporting all the fruits back home on motorbikes.

The mountainous Van Lang District is blanketed by the canopy of persimmon trees.

The mountainous Van Lang District is blanketed by the canopy of persimmon trees.

[Good persimmons have gleaming skins with a chartreuse shade, a crispy texture and a gentle sweet taste, farmers say.   In May 2018, the Vanh Khuyen persimmon was certified as a top-grade Vietnamese agricultural product.

Good persimmons have gleaming skins with a chartreuse shade, a crispy texture and a gentle sweet taste, farmers say.
In May 2018, the Vanh Khuyen persimmon was certified as a top-grade Vietnamese agricultural product.

Around September, retailers from northern cities and provinces visit Van Lang District to source persimmons for the urban market. The fruits are submerged in water for about four days to remove their outer tannin layer.

Around September, retailers from northern cities and provinces visit Van Lang District to source persimmons for the urban market. The fruits are submerged in water for about four days to remove their outer tannin layer.

Van Lang is mainly inhabited by the Nung and Tay ethnic minority communities who sustain themselves mainly with rice and persimmon farming.

Van Lang is mainly inhabited by the Nung and Tay ethnic minority communities who sustain themselves mainly with rice and persimmon farming.

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