Wax apples fetch three-year-high price at auction

‘HEAVENLY LORD’::Milk was used as part of the cultivation process for the winning wax apples, which its owner said gives them a unique taste

By Chen Yen-ting and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Feb 06, 2019 - Page 2

Wax apples from Pingtung County’s Nanjhou Township (南州) on Monday sold for NT$1,000 per kilo — a three-year high — at an auction in Taipei.

The Xian Guo Qi Yuan (鮮果奇緣)-brand wax apples were sold at the Taipei Second Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, the Nanzhou District Farmers’ Association said, adding that the fruit was a popular choice during Lunar New Year holiday shopping.

Most of the nation’s wax apples are grown in Nanjhou, and the township’s wax apples have received wide praise over the past few years, the association said.

The high prices that the wax apples command are an affirmation of the farmers’ hard work, with the profits going to them directly, it said.

Wax apple yields in the past three years had been affected by cold weather, typhoons and torrential rains, but the conditions last year were better than the two previous years, the association said, adding that a warm winter this year has helped the crop.

The higher yield this season allowed farmers from the county’s Jiadong (佳冬) and Linbian (林邊) townships to sell in more markets and improve their income, it said.

The NT$1,000 per kilogram price is an important threshold for local farmers who participate in Taipei’s fruit and vegetable auctions, it said.

Jiadong farmers were able to sell their produce for NT$1,200 per kilogram last year at the Taipei First Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, but hitting the NT$1,000 per kilogram mark is a harder feat at the smaller Taipei Second Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, the association said.

“When news reached Nanjhou that wax apples from the township fetched NT$1,000 ... everyone wanted to know whose wax apples they were,” it said.

The farmer, identified only by his surname, Lin (林), is no stranger to attention, having won acclaim as the only farmer to use milk as part of the growing process for his wax apples.

The “milk-fed” wax apples, sold under the brand name “Heavenly Lord of Wax Apples” (蓮霧天霸王), are big sellers.

Lin has said that a mixture of milk, eggs and enzymes, which he mixes together and pours into the trees’ roots, makes for healthier plants and gives the fruit a unique taste.