CAO BANG – September is also the time when the people of Trung Khanh begin the chestnut harvest season.
Trung Khanh district, about 58 km from Cao Bang city, is the capital of fragrant chestnuts that can’t be matched anywhere else. Every year, in early autumn, chestnuts begin to ripen and can be harvested.
The chestnut tree in the local language is also known as the Mac calendar. Trung Khanh district has an area of over 240 hectares of chestnut trees, concentrated in Trung Khanh town, Chi Vien, Kham Thanh, Dinh Phong, Ngoc Khe, and Phong Chau communes. In 2014, the Cao Bang chestnut product was announced the Trung Khanh geographical indication, bringing important meaning to local trade and tourism.
Young female photographer Luc Thi Nien (1989) often calls Mac Kham, a Tay living in Cao Bang, passionate about taking pictures of the seasons and people’s lives in her homeland. In it, the author made a series of introductory photos about “Trung Khanh chestnut season”.
Cao Bang chestnut tree 10-16 m high, perennial root up to 0.5 m in diameter with a wide canopy. In addition to natural factors, trees are planted according to the process, evenly spaced on hillsides 450-600 m high. Trung Khanh has favorable soil and climate, in addition, there are many large rivers and streams flowing through, providing enough water for irrigation, creating good conditions for plants to grow.
Visitors visit the chestnut garden when the tree blooms in spring. According to Mac Kham, coming to the chestnut garden in spring will feel the sweet scent of white chestnut flowers, and autumn is the time to harvest ripe chestnuts.
The clusters of unripe chestnuts look like young rambutans from the outside, because they have a rough, spiky shell-like porcupine feathers.
This chestnut variety has long been associated with the life of the Tay and Nung people in Cao Bang and is a significant source of income in each harvest season. Mac Kham shared that the most common way to harvest chestnuts is to use a bamboo pole to hook the branches to make the ripe fruit fall or when the seeds are ripe enough, they will fall off and collect them.
September – October is the harvest season of Trung Khanh chestnuts. Ripe chestnuts have cracks in the outer skin, inside the shell, there are 1 to 3 seeds. Due to the thorny outer shell, people bring the tree to the garden to pick up fruit, they can split the seeds on the spot or bring the fruit home to peel.
Different from chestnuts in other localities, in Trung Khanh the nuts are large, 5-6 times more than forest chestnuts. The skin is dark brown, the undercoat is light white, the skin is thin, the core is yellow, when eaten, it has a delicious and greasy taste.
The most common chestnuts are boiled, grilled over charcoal, or roasted in a pan. In addition, it is possible to make pork feet, chestnut bones that are good for health.
In the chestnut season, before each market, small traders will go to each garden to buy and sell on district and provincial markets.
Buyers need to distinguish Cao Bang chestnuts from Chinese chestnuts. Cao Bang seeds are more expensive with the selling price of 100,000 – 150,000 VND/kg, twice as much as Chinese seeds. In addition to us, Chinese chestnuts are sold all year round, have large size, round seeds, outside without fluff and white inside. Follow vnexpress
Photo: Mac Kham