Summer Crops – Plant Seasonal; Eat Seasonal
(HONG KONG, 3rd June 2018)Today, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) conducted a public talk at the Central Farmers’ Market (Central Star Ferry Pier 7) to highlight the very good reasons for growing and eating seasonally and locally.
Flavor, nutrition, food safety and support of our seasonal needs are all good reasons to choose locally grown, organic produce in season. Some knowledge about crops in season and experience of food growing will substantially enhance one’s appreciation of organic production and common sense to address food risks. ‘Each summer we receive enormous enquiries from reporters and the general public about food safety risks and which insect pests are active. Questions like whether it is safe to consume a cucumber that bears flower come up each year,’ said Mr YIP Tsz Lam, KFBG Senior Agriculture Officer. ‘Normally the flowers of cucumber wilt and eventually fall when the fruits develop after pollination. Synthetic plant hormones used by conventional, non-organic, farmers to stimulate fruit development is likely the cause of abnormal growth of the flowers. To avoid these synthetic chemicals, better to stick to organic cucumber.’ Yip added.
‘To avoid the potential food risk, we suggest consumers to purchase organic produce from trusted sources whenever possible. Chemical pesticide is also widely used in conventional, non-organic, farms in producing summer crops like gourds, melons and leafy vegetables that are prone to pest damage. Special caution should be given to produce that shows unusual signs of growth, which may be because of chemical fertilizer. It is also important to wash the produce thoroughly before consumption.’ Yip emphasised.
Okra is very suitable for growing during summer in Hong Kong and it is getting more popular in recent years because of its health benefits. An incident where bugs were found inside an okra that showed no sign of damage was widely reported by the press last year. ‘The case is most likely related to the fast growing pattern of okra. The fruit of okra develops quickly. It takes only two to three days for the fruit to become ready for harvesting and therefore, generally, farmers do not apply pesticide on okra. The incident might have happened under a rare situation that the moth larvae staying on the flower, were trapped and enclosed when the fruit was developing. Nevertheless, the good side of this news is that okra is a relatively safe crop, with a low chance of pesticide pollution.’ Yip explained.
During the talk, other interesting facts about popular summer crops were highlighted. ‘One of the best things about summer is sweet corn and June is the peak harvesting period of corn in local farms. As its name tells us, it is sweet and good for consuming raw or cooked. As sweet corn sits after picking, especially for those that travel long distance from overseas, the sugars in the kernel turn to starch and mute the flavor. This explains why sweet corn tastes the best when it is freshly picked and it is also the best reason to choose locally grown sweet corn,’ said Queenie SHUM, KFBG Agriculture Officer. ‘Be sure to leave the husks on the sweet corn before you are ready to cook it. The husks help seal in moisture.’ Queenie added.
A workshop was organized to provide tips for growing sweet corn and to engage the public to reuse corns husk to make a scarecrow to decorate the Central Farmers Market.
About the Central Famers Market:
Date: Every Sunday
Time: 11am – 5pm
Venue: Central Ferry Pier No.7
Organiser: Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, in collaboration with a group of Hong Kong organic farmers
Public enquiry: email@example.com
Please contact Cindy Luk, Communications Officer of KFBG on 2483 7270 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.