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Yangshan honey peach: the real taste of summer

By Jake Hooson,Feng Chonglin (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-06-28 17:01

Well known throughout the country for being remarkably sweet, succulent and tender, the Wuxi Yangshan Honey Peach enjoys the reputation as one of the tastiest fruits in East China.

Farmers begin harvesting the early-ripe variety of the Yangshan peach around the end of May, while the sweetest varieties of the fruit usually start hitting the shops in large quantities in mid-July.

Having been born and grown up in Yangshan, Ma Mingchun feels a deep connection with the town. From eating peaches from childhood, Ma now heads up Yangmi Peach Cooperative - the company largely-responsible for helping the peach brand achieve the solid reputation and market scope that it enjoys today.

"I've been selling Yangshan peaches since 2000 and was one of the earliest merchants in this business," said Ma, who organized several hundred peach farmers to sell to the likes of Carrefour, Wal-mart and Metro.

"Before 2000, peach farmers sold their products separately and there was no scale production or operation."

Since those early days, the peach brand has gone from strength to strength, according to Ma, who has more than 1,000 farmers working for his two main operations - Yangmi Cooperative and Shangpin Cooperative.

The peach's cultivation history spans back over 100 years. They first originated in the Shibawan bay area along the Taihu Lake in Wuxi, before mass production appeared in Yangshan town, paving the way for the evolution of the famous brand in the early 90's. It was not long after that the peach earned a national reputation as one of the "10 most famous peaches in China" and gained notoriety at the 1999 Horticultural Exhibition in Kunming.

However, to understand where the Yangshan peach gets its incredibly sweet taste from, you'll have to go much further back than 100 years. Rewind a few million years and the true reason for the peach's success begins to reveal itself.

What is now known as Yangshan Mountain was once an active volcano, meaning that the soil in Yangshan contains rich traces of potassium and calcium.

Another reason that makes the peach brand so unique is its cultivation method. "Yangshan peaches require intensive and meticulous farming methods and every family of peach farmers can only take care of 2-3 mu of peaches," said Ma. "The cultivation requires great effort and labor; every peach tree requires long-time attention work." With the growth and development of express deliver in recent years, the peaches are now sold as far away as Beijing. However, with the majority of available land in Yangshan already dedicated to peach-growing and demand for the fruit far outweighing supply, a trip to Wuxi seems the best bet to get your hands on a box of the much sought after treat.

About Yangmi Cooperative:

Yangmi Cooperative was founded in 2000 and is now the biggest producer and distributor of Yangshan peaches. It has a cultivation area spanning 30,000 mu (2000 hectares) and an annual yield of each mu exceeding 40,000 yuan ($6,018).

Yangshan honey peach: the real taste of summer

Yangshan peaches have just ripened. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Yangshan honey peach: the real taste of summer

Yangshan peaches produced from Yangmi Peach Cooperative go on market in Carrefour. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Yangshan honey peach: the real taste of summer

Ma Mingchun, head of Yangmi Peach Cooperative, has an interview with chinadaily.com.cn. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

 

 

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