A few days ago, I had the chance to visit a peach farm. It’s located in Pinggu, northeast district of Beijing. Pinggu is famous for its peaches.
I am told that there is an extinct volcano near the farm we will visit. The peaches here in the mountains are especially sweet. This is due to the altitude, the difference between day and night temperatures and the volcanic rock. Due to the location here, the peaches ripen relatively late.
We leave Beijing via the Jingping Expressway. In Pinggu we continue ever narrowing country roads, through small bustling villages. We’re on the road for just an hour and a half and yet in a completely different world. Fruit is being sold everywhere on the streets, which reminds me a bit of the apple farmers in the “Altes Land” (Old Country) near my hometown Hamburg. Then it gets hilly and we reach the mountains. We turn off and stop at the entrance of Suziyucun, park the car in the shade and are greeted by the farmer.
Before I can raise interest for the peaches, I must first enjoy the view. The dense green, all around mountains – that’s so nice. It is also very hot again and extremely humid. Now we follow the farmer into the peach grove. First, however, we pass walnut and pear trees.
Peach grove or peach jungle?
We leave the main path and land on a narrow-wet path. The noise of the cicadas is deafening. I watch very closely where I step, because I do not feel like tripping over snakes or similar creeping things. It does not feel like a peach grove, much more like a peach jungle.
We roam crisscrossing the peach trees. There are flat peaches and round peaches, yellow, white and red.
On many trees paper bags are placed over the fruits: this is a requirement of the authorities, so that the peaches are protected from pesticides. It does not work without spraying, because the peaches are very susceptible to disease.
Just before harvesting, the paper bags are stripped off (and then lie around on the ground, where they soften and decay over time). Artificial fertilizer is forbidden – but it smells intensively after stable …
Beijing’s most beautiful village
After we got rid of mosquitoes from the peach grove and said goodbye to the farmer, we walk through the village. Right at the entrance to the city, tons of bricks hit the eye: construction is underway here. A large wooden sign announces that Suziyu is “Beijing’s most beautiful village”. Is that true? It is all nicely located. There is a government program to renovate and restore the villages around Beijing. On the one hand the tourism / local recreation / short break should be promoted; on the other hand the income of the villagers can rise. And it probably has something to do with the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Monkeys and peaches?
Everywhere on the road we see sculptures of oversized peaches, in front of which a monkey stands or sits. Also, here in Suziyu there is such a figure. What it’s all about? In one of the four classic Chinese novels, “The Journey to the West,” Monkey King Sun Wukong in the garden of the (Daoist) goddess Xiwangmu tries a peach, becoming immortal.
Oh, kids beware: Your Dragon Ball game is loosely based on Sun Wukong’s (Japanese: Son Goku) adventures!
We conclude the trip with a meal in a quaint Chinese tourist restaurant by a reservoir before we make our way back to Beijing. Anyway, the day out in the open has been really good – and our small supply of fresh peaches is already almost up.