When Tsai Hsing, a 68-year-old farmer from New Taipei City, retired from his job working as a wholesaler in the textile and apparel industry eight years ago, he moved back to his hometown in Sanzhi District to breath life back into the farmland that his father had left him. The land had run fallow after years of neglect, but after seeking out an expert pear farmer named Huang Lai-wang in Danshui District to teach him how to farm, Tsai became the first person in Sanzhi to cultivate the Japanese Hosui pear, reaching an average sweetness as high as 13 degrees Brix — a standard measurement of sugar content.
In recalling the past, Tsai says that he worked in the textile trade for several decades and had several shops in Taipei, adding that though he lived a life of elegance, after many years he had grown sick of the busy city life and decided he would upon retiring take up idyllic life again and return to the farmland left to him by his father.
Tsai says that the more than 6,000 ping (19,935m2) of farmland his father left to him had once been a paddy rice field, but had been abandoned for many years in accordance with the government’s policy regarding fallow farmland. He spent half a year plowing the land, using organic fertilizer and expanding the farming area, but had no idea what he was going to grow at the time.
One day when he was driving past Huang’s orchard he saw row upon row of full-grown pears. Huang ardently taught him how to grow pears and all the tricks of the trade. When farming Tsai followed all of the skills that he had learned from his mentor and has had bountiful harvests year after year ever since. He also makes his own fake eagles and snakes that he hangs in the pear trees to keep the birds away.
1. textile n.
紡織品 (fang3 zhi1 pin3)
例: Textiles make up the majority of exports coming out of Pakistan, Cambodia, Macau and Bangladesh.
2. tricks of the trade idiom
訣竅；竅門 (jue2 qiao4; qiao4 men2)
例: She learned the tricks of the trade from her aunt.
3. mentor n.
良師益友 (liang2 shi1 yi4 you3)
例: Not knowing what to do, he wrote to his mentor for advice.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)