The farmers in SIP’s Loufeng Sub-district are busy harvesting Nandang gorgon fruits, a widely-known Suzhou specialty that is also called “chicken head rice” by locals.
In the Yangxi Farm, where the paddy fields full of big, round green leaves are spectacular, Lu Zhihua, a farmer wearing waterproof pants and long gloves, was cutting the seed pods that hid below the leaves.
“We follow the maturation cycle to harvest the gorgon fruits for 11 times from late July to October,” said Lu.
The market at the east of No. 2 Qunxing Road is busy, too. There are 901 family-run workshops which shell the newly harvested gorgon fruits with either machines or completely by hand in order to keep their nutrition as much as possible. Usually, one kilogram of kernels can be produced by shelling five kilograms of gorgon fruits.
Seasonal Nandang gorgon fruits sell well in market. It is learnt that over 800 households in Loufeng Sub-district have grown more than 10,000 mu (more than 600 hectares) of the plant this year, and the net income per mu is expected to reach RMB 5,000.
Fresh gorgon fruits taste soft and smooth, and smell good. One of the most popular ways to cook them is to boil them in water with melt rock candy and then put some sweet-scented osmanthus in the mixture. Some people also like boiling them with lotus root, or pan-frying them with peeled prawns.
July 26, 2023