grape picking in Taichung - Xinfeng Farm (新峰農場) [Travel in Taiwan 180715: Heard it through the grapevine] | Travel in Asia

Monday, July 16, 2018

grape picking in Taichung - Xinfeng Farm (新峰農場) [Travel in Taiwan 180715: Heard it through the grapevine]

#5yearsinTaiwan


There is a rumor going around in Taiwan that the tastiest grapes can be found in Taichung.  Spread by word of mouth and carefully listened by eavesdropping ears.   The message is very clear.  Xinfeng Farm has the best grapes in town! I wanted to know if it is fake news so I visited the place to investigate and find out the truth.



Kyoho grapes

Every July to August during summer and in the colds months of October to December,  clumps of the dark violet grapes are ready for harvest in Xinshe District.   Luscious and sparkling under the rays of the sun.   They looked tempting to eat by just looking at their pictures. 


light-colored Kyoho grapes.  Look for the dark-colored ones when picking the fruits.

dark-colored Kyoho grapes.  They taste great and are the best to eat.

Kyoho grapes (巨峰葡萄).  That is the variety that they plant in Central Taiwan.   The fruit originated in Japan and was found out that it can be grown in the hilly areas of Taichung.   Why not the Taiwan grapes?  Hmmm…. I’m not sure if there is a Taiwanese variety. But going back to the history of Taiwan when Japan colonized the island, the Japanese also brought to their new home (which is Taiwan!) their crops.  And it is here in the former Taichung Prefecture, that the Kyoho grapes found a suitable place to grow.

The Xinfeng Farm office.  This is not the location of the plantation.

I was expecting the farm office to be also the location of the plantation but it wasn't. So my Travel Buddy and I were given a lift to the vineyard, thanks to the friendly staff of Xinfeng Farm.  A man welcomed us upon arrival and led us to the grapevine.

empty grape boxes

scissors for cutting the stems of the fruits

Some of the grapes were still covered in bags to protect the fruits from insects.

A secret garden.   Shrouded by nets, it is hard to notice that there are grapevines in Xinshe District.   Unless you know where Xinfeng Farm is, then it is easy to grab a taxi from Fengyuan Station and tell the driver in Chinese about the location of the vineyard.  For budget travelers who don’t want to spend on expensive taxi fares, board Bus 91 and alight at Neiguan Center (內觀中心).  You will reach the Xinfeng Farm office after walking for a few meters, but don't be surprised when you found out that it's not the location of the plantation.   Tell the staff that you are going to pick some fruits and they will give you a lift free of charge.

I was given Chinese instructions on how to properly pick the grapes. Haha!
How to pick the Kyoho grapes?  The old man demonstrated how to do it properly.  Grasp the fruit with one hand and cut the portion of the stem nearest to the branch point.

And it's now my turn. Haha!

Travel Buddy Mario as he concentrates on cutting the stem of the grape.

Get your photos taken while picking the grapes. Haha!

Success!

Pick all you can.  Armed with a pair of scissors and a box to collect the harvest, Travel Buddy Mario enjoyed tasting each fruit before he cuts the stem.   His taste buds told him that the dark-colored grapes one were the best ones to pick.   The lighter ones will still take time to taste better.  But how do you cut the grapes?  Hold first the fruit by grasping it with one hand and then you cut portion of the stem that connects it to the main vine.   In this way, you don’t let the fruit just fall to the ground and you still have a stalk to hold on after cutting it.


freshly picked grapes

A bountiful harvest.   I was delighted to see that my box been filled with the Kyoho grapes.  Although I was given the liberty to cut as many grapes as I want, I kept it to my mind that I will have to pay for everything that I have picked.  I estimated the price of each grape to be NTD 100 each but I still asked the staff how much it is per bundle.   They said that they would weigh it and then the amount will be known. 

There is a weighing scale in the vineyard and it gave a reading of 2.6 kilograms.

The harvest

Travel Buddy Mario as he holds the box of grapes.



The box was weighed in the vineyard and it was 2.6 kilograms.  It was weighed again using an electronic balance which indicated the amount that I have to pay.   It was priced at NTD 667 but it was only given to me for only NTD 500.  Bwahaha!  I shared the harvest with Travel Buddy Mario which makes the cost of this grape picking activity to only NTD 250.





Experience the joy and fun of fruit picking at Xinfeng Farm.  Pick as many Kyoho grapes as you want and share them with friends as you savor its sweet and sour taste.   Spread the news that you have found the best-tasting grapes in Taiwan.   If they ask you about how you discovered the place.   Tell them that you have heard it through the grapevine.

*********************
Xinfeng Farm (新峰農場)
office address: 426台中市新社區大南村中和街二段264號

The summer grape-picking season ended last August 5!

The autumn/winter grape-picking season is from Oct. 6 to late-December! How to get to the vineyard:
A. by bus
TRA Fengyuan Station -> board Bus 91 [Google Map] [estimated location of the Fengyuan East Station (豐原東站) bus stop] -> get off at Neiguan Center (內觀中心) stop [Google Map] -> walk to the Xinfeng Farm office [Google Map] -> The staff will give you a free lift to the vineyard.

*If the Bus 91 driver asks "Zai nali?" upon boarding the vehicle in Fengyuan East Station bus stop.  Just reply with "Zhongxingling".  The driver just wants to make sure that you are going to the Zhongxingling area.

B.  by taxi
TRA Fengyuan Station -> ride taxi to the Xinfeng Farm vineyard [Google Map]

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Sakura Series - Taiwan

Sakura Series - Taiwan


Sakura Series - Japan


Maple Series


Yehliu to Jiufen? Yehliu to Shifen? Cheaper than yellow taxis

The "Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei)


Other attractions in Taipei


New Taipei


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