Zhejiang agricultural expo pull in the crowds

The 2017 Zhejiang Agricultural Expo closed on November 28 in Hangzhou. This year over 1,500 exhibitors attended the fair, bringing more than 13,000 types of agricultural products.

The 2017 Zhejiang Agricultural Expo, which was most welcomed by housewives, has offered a great chance for people to stock up on food for the approaching Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on February 16 next year.

This year over 1,500 exhibitors attended the fair, bringing more than 13,000 types of agricultural products from across the country. Statistics from local government show that the five-day exhibition, which closed on November 28, attracted 689,000 visitors and the sales amounted to 319 million yuan (US$48 million), up 5.6 percent over last year.

Spanning a total area of 50,000 square meters, the expo was held in two venues separately, one in downtown Hangzhou, another in the rural Xiaoshan District.

The oranges from Xiangshan County in Zhejiang Province, porcini mushrooms from Lishui City, organic vegetables offered at the G20 Summit banquet. The farm produce pavilions allow you to buy local specialties from different parts of China.

But street food pavilions are apparently more appealing for many.

Zhejiang agricultural expo pull in the crowds
Shi Jia

People show how they make rice cakes in Zhejiang Province at the 2017 Zhejiang Agricultural Expo, which was recently held in Hangzhou.

The “Characteristic Street Food” area include local snacks from Jinhua, Zhoushan, Wenzhou, Quzhou and Huzhou cities in Zhejiang Province, which are all made and ready to buy on site.

The banquet fish meatballs, for example, is a very well-known local delicacy from Haining City in Zhejiang. The dish is said to be related to Emperor Qianlong (1711-99) when he inspected the seawalls in Haining during his many visits to Jiangnan (regions in the south of the lower reaches of Yangtze River).

The minced fish meat is blended with ham, pork fat and chopped water chestnut and rolled into meatballs. The meatballs are then coated with pork skin slices after they are steeped in water to recover their crunchy texture.

Put them in a bamboo steamer for five to eight minutes and the meatballs are served with soup stock and chive shoots.

Apart from agricultural products, agricultural entrepreneurs and related service providers also came to the expo with their innovative products or solutions. They might represent a possible future for a more integrated agricultural industry.

Mao Da’er, director of operations from a Hangzhou-based company, showed Shanghai Daily their latest retractable device for growing vegetables in the balcony.

The three-tier wheeled shelf is able to hold two trays of vegetable on each tier. It takes up only 1.35 meters by 0.5 meter in space. And it can also be expanded when you need more sunshine for the lower tiers.

“The device is mainly designed for the elderly, who may not be very capable of visiting market regularly as they did before. With our device, they can eat what they grow,” said Mao.

The soil tray actually contains a module of water circulation and a module of soil venting. And users can switch to different cultivation modes from spring, summer to winter with the modules operating every several hours. 

It is told that the system can operate for seven to 10 days without any electricity power.

They are also developing an app called “City Nanniwan” which is expected to launch in March next year.

“Our customers then will be able to rent our device with a small fee, and have vegetable seeds and other related tools delivered home via our app,” Mao told Shanghai Daily.

Zhejiang agricultural expo pull in the crowds

Haining banquet fish meatballs

Comparing with first-comers like Mao, Feng Bin and his company Golden Farm is a regular participant in agricultural expos in town.

The farm is based in Xiasha area near the rural-urban fringe of Hangzhou. It spans an area of 80 hectares with vegetable fields and farming areas for livestock and poultry.

The biggest feature of the farm is that they grow vegetables organically. No pesticides or chemical fertilizer are allowed. Weeding is done manually and light traps are placed for pest control.

“Our vegetables are comparatively smaller than non-organics. And you will find wormholes in our leafy greens,” Feng pointed to the products they exhibited on their booth table.

Feng said these vegetables were not popular among customers at the beginning as they were used to good-looking ones sold in supermarkets. 

And also being organic means they have to pay more. Middle-class families may be the first to embrace the concept.

They offer one-year, six-month, three-month and one-month memberships to these families, where organic food can be ordered online and delivered home. A one-year membership is priced at 17,880 yuan. Vegetables are sold in units, with each unit equaling 40 grams. A free range duck equals 10 units.

“We are also suppliers to kindergartens, luxury hotels and some vegetarian restaurants in town,” said Feng.

Another part of the revenue comes from providing farming experiences for schools and tourist groups. 

Zhejiang agricultural expo pull in the crowds

A new device for growing vegetables in the balcony

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