It is fun and interesting to pick pomelos yourself at a leisure farm. In particular, it is meaningful to pick pomelos with your family in the run-up to the Moon Festival (the Mid-autumn Festival), because both the pomelo fruit and the moon are round in shape, representing family reunion.
For more photos of picking pomelos, please watch the following video.
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The pomelo, also known as Citrus maxima, is a natural citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. It is the largest citrus fruit that you can purchase, and is especially popular among the Chinese because of its symbolic connotations.
Some like the pomelo because its sweet taste symbolizes a rich sweet life. Others enjoy eating the fruit just because its Cantonese pronunciation is similar to the words for prosperity and status. Still others enjoy the fruit because it is commonly called “yòu zi”(柚子) in Mandarin, which is a homophone for words that mean “a prayer for sons” (佑子).
In fact, the pomelo is also simply called (柚 yòu) in Mandarin and its pronunciation is similar to that of “bless” (佑 yòu), symbolizing good fortune, health, and happiness for the family. As a result, many Taiwanese often use pomelos as an offering to their ancestors and deities.
The nutrients of the pomelo
Pomelo fruits are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, beta-carotene, folic acid, minerals, etc. In particular, their vitamin C content is eight times that of apples.
Additionally, they can also regulate blood pressure and break down proteins and fat for better digestion. Moreover, the limonoids in pomelos can prevent cancer cells from growing and dividing.
When to pick pomelos
It is a common practice to harvest pomelo fruits around White Dew (白露) in the eighth lunar month, which is the 15th solar term of the year, and usually falls around September 7 or 8 every year.
If pomelo fruits are not harvested around that period of time, they tend to fall on the ground, and their quality is then not so good either, because White Dew signifies the real beginning of cool autumn weather according to the traditional Chinese solar calendar.
How to pick pomelos
When picking pomelos, you have to be careful with how you handle them, so as to do it easily and safely. For instance, when picking fruits at the higher end of the tree’s branches, it is better to use a sturdy ladder or a knife with a long handle. If picking by hand, you should hold the fruit with one hand, and then pull it slightly with a twist with the other hand.
Where to pick pomelos in Taiwan
Though the literal translation of this leisure farm’s name is King Ming Chang Deer Ranch, there are two separate pomelo orchards on the farm. Covering an area of 0.78 hectares (1.9 acres), the leisure farm has planted over 160 pomelo trees in these orchards.
Most of the pomelos grown on this leisure farm are the Wendan pomelo (文旦), which originated in Taiwan and has a juicy and delicious flavor. Nevertheless, there are some Peiyu (Citrus grandis Osbeck, 大白柚), Xishi pomelo (西施柚) and grapefruit (葡萄柚) as well.
One thing special about this organic farm is that its pomelo trees are open for the general public to reserve one year beforehand at a cost of around NT$2,500 (US$90) per tree. In the following year, these patrons can go to the orchard to pick their pomelos around the Mid-autumn Festival. The guaranteed harvesting number per tree is 60 pieces. If reserved trees fail to bear enough pomelos, the leisure farm will make up the gap.
This leisure farm also allows general visitors to enjoy the pick-your-own experience with an advance reservation. It gives families the opportunity to pick pomelos themselves and take the harvest home at about US$2 per kilogram.