Today I visited an organic farm near Yangjiang with some factory friends. We were treated to a VIP lunch and tour because a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-knew-a-guy…
This farm has “borrowed” some organic hot house farming techniques from the Israelis. Oddly enough I just drove by similar hot houses on the West Bank 90 days earlier when I visited my daughter there. The technique both groups utilize involves reducing the amount of chemical fertilizer and insecticides required to grow vegetables by using natural growing methods and insect-proof enclosures. They employ both hydroponics and natural recycled soil additives (mulched coconut shells & decomposed leaves) to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. All of the water comes from the nearby mountains and goes through special filtration processes before being used on the plants.
They sell their produce wholesale to various restaurants & factory kitchens in the Yangjiang area. Their biggest customer is the kitchen for the local cigarette company. I was told the cost for the organic produce was no more that the cost in local markets. The business model sounds backwards, but apparently China isn’t ready to pay a premium for organic products.
The lunch was amazing. It was essentially boiled fresh lettuce (5 varieties) in a hot pot soup. We also had a few fried vegetable dishes. It was probably the freshest lunch I’ve ever eaten. Everything was still growing hours earlier.