Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Sexagenarian becomes successful pear farmer after retirement
六十歲轉行 種出超甜水梨

Tsai Hsing, right, holds a basket of pears at his pear orchard in New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District on June 28.
蔡興六月二十八日於新北市三芝區在其水梨果園拿著一籃水梨留影。

Photo: Lai Hsiao-tung, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者賴筱桐

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.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

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.

(巴基斯坦、柬埔寨、澳門與孟加拉多數出口物屬於紡織品。)

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.

(她從阿姨學到做生意的竅門。)

3. mentor n.

良師益友 (liang2 shi1 yi4 you3)

例: Not knowing what to do, he wrote to his mentor for advice.

(不知怎麼辦才好,他寫信問良師益友指點。)


(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

新北市六十八歲農民蔡興原從事服裝批發業,八年前退休回到故鄉三芝,將父親留下荒廢多年的農地重新整理活化,並向淡水「水梨達人」黃來旺拜師學藝,如今成為三芝栽培豐水梨第一人,甜度高達十三度。

蔡興回想,從事服裝買賣生意二、三十年,在台北市開了數家門市,十分風光,但長年下來,對都市忙碌生活有些厭煩,想起長輩留在故鄉的地,決定退休重拾田園生活。

蔡興表示,父親留下六千多坪田地,早期種水稻,配合政府休耕政策,荒蕪多年,他花半年將地整平,施用有機肥,擴大田區,但要種什麼卻摸不著頭緒。

有次他開車經過黃來旺的果園,看到結實纍纍的水梨,黃來旺也熱心教授栽種水梨的「撇步」;蔡興得到師父「真傳」,「照步」栽培,果然連年豐收,還自製老鷹及蛇的標本吊掛樹上,防鳥類偷吃。

(自由時報記者賴筱桐)

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