When you’re headed for an Agricultural Research Station, and find yourself in a town named Ever Spring (Hengchun), holding a juicy, perfectly ripe mango, standing on a stunningly beautiful tropical beach.
After all, what should I call it? Blessing. Fate. Karma. Never coincidence.
We headed south from Koahsiung, on our way to the Hengchun Agricultural Research Station. On the way out, we passed Wang’s Steakhouse (I kid you not, I suffered irrational chortle fits for 30 miles thinking about it) and two hours later, we arrived at the station, where they have some cattle, and a lot of goats. Truth is, they do fewer bovine research projects in Taiwan than they used to. Researchers Dr. James and Mr. Simon trained in Texas for a while, and now dedicate time to researching a short list of beef breeds in Taiwan, and preserving the native Taiwan Yellow beef breed for traditional dishes like hot pots and meat balls (ask me about the meat balls we had for supper last night sometime, or better yet, ask Randy). As I mentioned before, Taiwan folk eat quite a bit of pork and goat, and depend on imports to satisfy a rapidly growing hunger for beef. That’s serendipity too, for U.S. producers.
Honestly, I’m not sure the feedlot was quite as fascinating as seeing mangoes, bananas, pineapple and sweet apples on the tree, simply because that was all new to me. Especially the part where each luscious mango and beautiful banana bunch hides beneath a lovingly applied paper wrapper while finishing the ripening process–to protect the precious fruit from sun and insects. After harvest by hand, farmers place each mango in a mesh foam wrapper and stack them carefully for transport.
(Can you visualize me at this moment, trying to keep the mango juice running off my chin from dripping to my keyboard as I type? I’ve never tasted fruit like this. I’m totally addicted. I’m not alone, they’ve loved ’em in India for thousands of years, too. I think I will experience withdrawal when I get back to the States. Maybe my friend William at the Mango Board can hook me up. I hear they worship mangos in Key West…can they possibly grow them like this in Margaritaville?)But I digress.
Thank you, thank you James and Simon. For the magnificent mangoes.Sigh.
…Oh, and for the wonderful information about agriculture in Taiwan, translating the technical stuff at the feedlot and your kindness. Here are some feedlot photos–mostly about the ration, because it was a great lesson in using what feedstuffs you have available to produce nutritious beef.
Random photo of the day: