What an amazing day we had experiencing the agriculturally rich area of Da Lat.
Our first stop was a family-owned fresh-cut flower farm located just outside of Da Lat. The flowers would be cut early in the morning and would be shipped up to Ho Chi Minh City. The main flowers grown on the farm were roses, lillies, and gerberas.
We then ventured to a cricket farm. They harvest the male crickets when they three months, and leave the females to produce offspring. Crickets are a common protein source in this area. Many of us were adventurous and tried crickets and cricket wine. Tasting note - rather crunchy.
Our next stop was to a weasel coffee farm. Here they would feed coffee fruit to weasels and harvest their dung which contained a fermented coffee bean. After soaking for a week, drying, and roasting the result is weasel coffee beans. We were pleasantly surprised with the taste of this coffee. This farm also produced snack and rice wine, all of which are 65% alcohol.
Later in the afternoon we arrived at the largest tea farm in Vietnam, where we saw them harvesting tea. They had tea trees that were up to 80 years old! The fields were very beautiful. We got to see them harvesting the leaves as well as the production facility.
Our last stop was to a coffee plantation. Here they grow mostly Arabica beans, as the elevation at 1650 metres above sea level is a great growing environment. They harvest once per year, the bags pictured below are how the fruit is transported. They each weigh around 80 kgs. The fruit gets cleaned, fermented, husked, and dried and is then sent off to a different location to be roasted. Interestingly, this is where some of our Starbucks coffee comes from!
Seeing such diversity was incredible. The country side was full with greenhouses and lush fields wasting no space, even on very steep slopes. It was great to experience this vibrant agricultural area.