Post-typhoon veggie blues

I know, I know. Prices at the dirt cheap, mornings-only wet market shop I go to are still acceptable, though – I got three large broccoli, three good onions, a bag each of two kinds of mushrooms, and two large bundles of potato leaves for $210 (normally $100-ish). Try your wet market instead of the super, where the same shopping basket might have cost me $400+.

Go to the 'Net. Order the frozen veggies. You will save a third at least . Buy bulk. Share.

Uhm, why would I want to buy frozen stuff when the fresh stuff here is so good?
It just pisses me off to see all the food go to waste. What are they going to do with 20kg of rotten bananas?
This is the little local market just down the road…
One out of the three main fruit stalls there have decent prices and still fresh looking fruit, the other two have kilo after kilo of brow/black bananas and half rotten mangoes for no good reason. I mean, aren’t they losing money on it this way?
Loads of the veggie stalls have cabbage that they keep peeling of a layer of cabbage from every day as it spoils, yet they don’t seem interested in actually selling it…
What’s going on?

It has been proven that the frozen veggies in Europe contain more minerals and vitamins then fresh … why? … Because the frozen stuff goes immediately from the field to the factory, washed, blanched, packed and frozen … all the same day … the stuff at the market will take three days at least to get into your belly … loss of all the good stuff after being harvested is big …

[quote=“TheLostSwede”]Loads of the veggie stalls have cabbage that they keep peeling of a layer of cabbage from every day as it spoils, yet they don’t seem interested in actually selling it…
What’s going on?[/quote]

Price gouging mixed with short-sightedness?

I got two mangos today. 59NT per kg. One is rotten but looks fine on the outside :frowning:

RT-Mart’s weekly flyer normally is packed with cheap veggies. This one has, like, ONE and it’s not cheap. :thumbsdown:

Well, I think a lot of stuff here gets to the market quicker than in Europe, since the locally grown stuff really is grown locally, not in another country. Counting in the 3-4 growth seasons and what not, I don’t think Taiwan has the same problems as Europe. The only thing I by frozen here is peas, as the fresh ones I’ve found here tastes like the stuff they make animal feed out of back home.

Still, I guess if the veggies sits in the supermarket for a week without anyone buying them, sure, they’re not going to be very good.

I would say that most of the food is cheap and fresh, but the problem is that distribution is so fragmented. Hence why you get the wet market being cheaper for veggies than Carrefour, and Carrefour being cheaper for chicken than Costco, that one I really can’t understand :ponder:

It’s a typhoon. People who can make out like bandits will, no matter how dubious the reasoning.

Really? My impression was that Costco’s chicken was cheaper. :idunno:

Anyway, back to veggies, my wife has suggested planting veggies in long planters that one can place atop balcony wall ledges in the summer, to be brought indoors for one day or so during a typhoon, thus guaranteeing greens in the aftermath. I’ve already got basil, Mexican peppers of various kinds and tomatillos growing, but I’m tempted to add some basic greens like spinach now.

Okami wasn’t it you that tried to become a farmer, or organic grower? Whatever happened to that?

It got torn down in a tropical storm. I gave up on it after that. It was going great and was popping up just like it was supposed too. The living arrangements were a bit of a mess, but that is Taipei County for you. :noway:

I plan on trying it again in Changhua soon. I’m looking at land. The problem is it’s either too much land(I want 150-300 ping) or too high of a price(I’m looking for $50/ping) or no water and electricity(I love hydro). I’m waiting to also see what the shake up is over the massive Morakot damage. I’d bet money some farmers called it quits over it as the website has them all in the 50-70 age group mostly. Anything less than a 75% gross profit margin for me is unthinkable. Farmers here generally make $2 for every dollar invested from what I’ve seen but I may be reading it wrong.

The sweetest spot I’ve seen is the coastal industrial parks, tight planting to dampen water loss and wind to cool your water to 26C. I know winters would be brutal though. I haven’t checked what the lease rates are on bare land yet though and it would have a slight image problem. :whistle:

Does anyone know the website to check the daily vegetable and produce prices in Chinese? I usually look it up in the Chinese newspapers if I get the chance, but would prefer the online version. I know farmers are making a killing now if they got the stuff available to sell at a wholesale price.

I think the market for salad greens has matured enough along with heat resistant strains to make a good go of it. Anything else would be a max production, high efficiency set up using high end seeds with goats on the side to dispose of roots. Then you run into the very real problem of marketing.

You might be on to something though, friend of mine that’s running the Fairy Cafe is trying to go as organic as she can when it comes to veggies, so if you can grow and deliver a constant stream of Romaine lettuce you’d have a customer there at least :smiley:

Also, please grow some nice spuds for us poor foreigners that want new potatoes from time to time, it can’t be impossible, right?
I’m willing to pay pretty good money for some nice organic new potatoes…

I’m a big fan of hydroponics. I think people who go for organic are either clueless(Hello, Haber Process, anyone?) or are either really fooling themselves about organic. While there are benefits to organic, i.e. better control over finished product. You give up the very real fact that if we all went organic tomorrow, we’d only have to kill 4 billion people. Farming nowadays comes down to one important element, nitrogen. Mother nature only gives it up with lightning and legumes.

I am however a big believer in low herbicide and pesticide use as are the vast majority of farmers out there. That shit costs money. Money we would rather spend on whores and booze. If we have a choice between pesticide and crop versus no crop, well I think you get the idea.

I believe that Taiwanese will slowly go to a more targetted herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer regime as farms get bigger and it becomes more of a business. We’re still a long way off from GPS equipped tractors and combines.

Well, I won’t complain about some fertilizer being used, but I have had some fantastic store bought organic new potatoes and of course my uncle’s home grown spuds which are the best I’ve ever had. However the stuff we grew back home never came out quite that good…

I guess it’s impossible to go back to the “organic” farming methods used a couple of hundred years ago and that’s not what I’m talking about. However, I think there are better ways to grow fruit and veggie than to cover it in chemicals “just in case”.

I don’t even mind some GE modified food, as long as it doesn’t go too far as it has done in some cases… However, when it can benefit humanity, then it’s ok imho.

Anyhow, this is way off topic :smiley:

Don’t forget all the vendors that store veggies in cooling prior to a typhoon, hoping for the worst, than releasing them for a fairly high price …

Really? My impression was that Costco’s chicken was cheaper. :idunno:

Anyway, back to veggies, my wife has suggested planting veggies in long planters that one can place atop balcony wall ledges in the summer, to be brought indoors for one day or so during a typhoon, thus guaranteeing greens in the aftermath. I’ve already got basil, Mexican peppers of various kinds and tomatillos growing, but I’m tempted to add some basic greens like spinach now.[/quote]

They were showing on the news a group of a-mas who are battling prices just like that. One big pot of kon xin tzai, one pot of peppers, … you get teh idea. If you have a big enough balcony, it is doable.

In re: Pricings

Hmmm, my wife was telling me that a consumer association brought an action against carrefour last week (and won) in relation to their over-inflated importedveggie prices.

I would love to know more about these CAs and how to submit complaints. We managed to buy 3/4 of a romaine lettuce (on the turn) last night for valentines day ceasar salad, bargain at 80 bucks!

Also, one time I bought a chicken from Geant (AiMei) and it was at least 10 days past sellbuy, but sold in vacuum sealed plastic. I opened it, gag reflex nearly chocked me and even once it was outside in the big the lingering smell in the kitchen made me heave. never buy their meat again.

In re: Home gardener

I have basil, tomatos, guava, orange, lemon, rosemary, … would like lettuce and more but the planting season is just around corner. However, mine are more for decoration since there is quite a cost behind growing your own, big planters are 500bucks…

Also you can buy up and home freeze your veg when cheap by making veggie casserole, rattatouie, soups… and always store a bag of frozen peas/sweetcorn for emergencies. I am also making frozen herbs after harvest… all this insulates for 2 weeks when the prices are ridiculous. little hot for some of theose dishes now, but better than nothing

On the veggie thing, even better if you have a roof, but I suffered really badly from a white moth infestation that wiped out my radishes =(

In re: “organis farming”

Big-agrapharma is useful, but also the original natural methods can be used to great effect, ie, the mono-cropping and industrial agrifarms caused some of the issues that were then solved by chema, but when returning to the original methods, some issues disappear.

However, have now found this GREAT resource (but the postings moved so its copied below in “tiny text” copy paste and enlarge, recipes need ratios changing) These details natural pesticides.

Also look into “companion planting”, whereby pesticide and fertilizer use in minimilzed

And lastly “biochar”, which helps lock in any minerals/ NPK (and aid water balance)

Sun, 2009/02/22 - 22:56

organic farming and pest control(taken from some ancient agri books&website)

some thing i used for pest disease control wich was written some of the blogs of Mrs Farzana (Pakistan).“There are numerous fruit and vegetable crops with properties that with proper attention I can use to control insects and diseases.

The plants that I have listed below have pesticide properties in their seeds, leaves, stalks, un-ripe fruit, bulbs rhizomes etc., and act by different modes of action. Each one controls different pests including: aphids, caterpillars, green bugs, fruit flies, leaf minors, red spiders, ants, slugs, house flies, mites, white flies, bacteria, scab, bowl-worm, thrips, anthracnose, hoppers, scales, termites, thrips, mosaic virus, powder mildew etc.

The useful part of a plant can easily be collected and used as a natural pesticide on a crop and can of course be established on a small scale in rural areas near farms. Fruit and vegetables with natural pesticide properties include: custard apple (Annona reticulata), basil (Sweet Basil) and Holy Basil, chillies (Capsicum frutes), (Fam. Sollanacea), garlic (Allium Sativum) (F. Lilacae), ginger (Zingber officiate) (fm. Zingiberatase), neem, papaya (Carcia papaya), tobacco (Nictana tabacum, Nicotana, Rustica) and nicotana glutnosa (Fam. Ziberacease).

Insect-controlling plants

Pest control plants should posses the following characteristics:

Be effective at the rate of a maximum of 3-5% plant material based on dry weight
Be easy to grow, require little space and time for cultivation and procurement
Be perennial, recover quickly after the material is harvested
Not become weed or a host to plant pathogen or insect pest
Possess complementary economic uses
Pose no hazard to non-target organisms, wild life, humans or environment
Be easy to harvest preparation should be simple, not too time consuming or requiring excessive technical input
Application should not be phyto-toxic or decrease the quality of crop, e.g. taste or texture
Below is a list of useful agricultural species, their pesticide properties and the method of preparation:

Soursop Custard apple (Annona reticulata)
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: seeds, leaves, unripe fruit
Mode of action: Contact and stomach problem, ovicidal, insecticidal, repellent, antifeedent and antinematode.
Target pests: aphid, caterpillars, green bug and Mediterranean fruit fly.
Preparation: 500 grams of custard apple leaves, boil in 2 ½ litres of water, until only 1/4 of the original is left, then dilute this mixture into 15-20 litres of water. This is good enough for one hectare.

Basil Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilium), Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum)
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: leaves and stem
Mode of action: repellent, insecticidal, fungitoxic and mollu scicidol.
Target pests: fruit fly, leaf miners, red spider and mites.
Preparation: 100g basil leaves dipped in to 1 litre of water. This should be soaked overnight in water. Filter the mixture and add 1ml of liquid soap, stir properly. Dilute into 10-15 litres of water.

Plant parts with insect controlling properties: fruit
Mode of action: stomach position insecticidal, repellent, antifeedent, fumigant-viroid.
Target pests: ants, aphid, caterpillars and slugs.
Preparation: 500g of chillies, dip into 3 litres of water for 10-15 minutes. Add 30g of soap as sticker. Add 3 more litres of water, filter and then spray the plants. One can add tobacco, garlic, onion, citrus, alcohol, neem and lime.

Garlic Allium Sativum (Fam. Lilaceqe)
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: bulbs
Mode of action: insecticidal, repellent, antifeedent, fungicidalnematocidal and is effective against ticks.
Target pest: aphids, house flies, mites, white fly, bacteria, cucumber and scab.
Preparation: 3 bulbs of garlic, ground finely, add some kerosene, keep for 2 days. Add 1 table-spoon of soap powder, stir and filter and add 15-20 litres of water.

Ginger Zingiber officiale (Fam. Zingiberacae)
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: rhizome
Mode of action: repellent, insecticidal, nematocidal and fungicidal.
Target pests: American bowl worms, aphid, thrips, white fly, and mango anthracnose.
Preparation: 500g of crushed garlic add 10ml of kerosene oil kept overnight. Next day remove outer skin of ginger and make ginger paste. In another vessel add 100g green chillies, mixed with 50ml of water and add 30g of liquid soap as emulsifier. Solution is stirred and filtered and 10-15 ml of water added.

Plant parts with insect controlling properties: seeds and leaves
Mode of action: insecticidal, repellent, antifeedant acaricidal, growth inhibiting nematocidal, fungicidal, anti-viral. Neem compounds act mainly as stomach poison and systemic.
Target pests: American boll-worms, ants, deserts, locust, leaf hoppers, leaf miners, mites, scales, termites, thrips, white fly.
Preparation: 1 kg of neem leaves dipped into 2 litres of water and left overnight. Boil it 15-20 minutes untill 1/4 is left. Dilute with 10-15ml of water.

Papaya Carcia papaya
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: leaves, seed, unripe fruit
Mode of action: flower thrips and fruit fly.
Target pests: mosaic virus and powdery mildew.
Preparation: 1 kg of finely shredded leaves, placed in 1 litre of water and squeezed through a cloth. Take 1 litre of soap solution, dilute it in 10-15 ml water.

Tobacco Nicotana tabacum, Nicotana Rustica, Nicotana glutnosa, and Fam. Solanaceae
Plant parts with insect controlling properties: leaves and stalk
Mode of action: insecticida, repellent, fungicidal, acaricidal contact, and stomach.
Target pests: aphids, caterpillars, leaf miners, mites and thrips.
Preparation: boil 4 litres of water, add ½ kg of tobacco leaves and 1 table spoon of lime. Dilute it with 10-15 litres of water.

Tumeric Curcum domstica (Fam. Zigiberaceoe)
Plant parts with insect controlling propertie: rhizome
Mode of action: repellent, insecticidal and antifungal.
Target pests: aphids, caterpillars, mites and rice leaf hoppers.
Preparation: 500g of turmeric rhizomes chopped and soaked overnight, dilute into 2 litres of water and again dilute into another 10-15ml of water.

The Rationale
The purpose of introducing pesticide free fruits and vegetables is to increase the support and significance of natural crop protection and sustainable organic agriculture. It provides links with approaches and methodologies that allow growers to put basic information into practice. Ultimately this will provide farmers with the experience and confidence needed to make the best use of the resource available to them and to use this knowledge to farm sustainably.

Commercial scale applications
The plant species listed in this article are grown in Asia in abundance but have never been tried on a commercial scale. Even neem that is known to control numerous insects, pests, fungi, nematodes and viral diseases is still used and processed in a very primitive manner. A solution has to be found for its commercial scale applications and extraction of pesticide properties of plants on a much larger scale.

Information deficiency
There is demand world over for pesticide free food, but the information on the various natural pesticides is lacking and therefore, these methods are little used in India ,Pakistan and other developing countries. This is partly due to the fact that processing techniques have not been fully understood. The process of extraction is known theoretically, but large scale production has not yet made any headway, although there is great scope for export opportunities.

Nurturing success
In order to produce fruit and vegetables using sustainable locally produced inputs we need to identify constraints of crop production. We also need to develop an appropriate training course on Integrated Pest Management for the target smallholders farming system. Ultimately this strategy will help to boost farmers economy through the increased export of high value ‘non toxic’ food produce.Small farmers will benifited by this method.
Mrs.Farzana Panhwar in Pakistan has used this all and also i followed this method nicely in Uganda.This credit goes to Mrs .Farzana who inspired me and i have succesessfuly used this all natural pesticides.