Thursday, March 26, 2015

Garlic bolt (蒜薹) at Shi Fang (什邡)

If there were no Great Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, most of us would probably never have heard of a place called Shi Fang.  But it did happen, and Shi Fang was one of the cities most badly hit.  Some of my colleagues came here to see what they could do to help, and I ended up coming here to learn how people grow wood ear, to try to come up with ways to improve the process.  

And I got to see and eat garlic bolt, a lot of them, because they are in season.  I found later that it is also called garlic sprout, or garlic stem.  

I was told by the farmers that there are three stages at which people eat the garlic plant.  At the first stage, when the leaves start to grow out of a garlic, it is 蒜苗.  Later, a stem will grow from the centre of the leaves, eventually bearing flowers at the top of the stem, and that stem is the 蒜薹.  Finally, the mature plant will be eaten as 大蒜.

I also saw a lot of white radish (白蘿蔔, 大根), whole car loads of them.  So pretty it is really a piece of art.

And beautiful fields of rapeseed flowers (油菜花).  They are everywhere.

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