January 31, 2024
HANOI – Đà Lạt strawberry last month was recognised among the top ten specialties of Việt Nam in 2023 by Asia Book of Records.
Đà Lạt’s temperate climate and suitable land produce a uniquely aromatic strawberry with special fragrance and taste, said Đà Lạt resident Nguyễn Hoàng Vinh, who has been growing the fruit for some 30 years.
The main strawberry crop starts in the dry season from November to April the following year, Vinh said, noting that with favourable conditions and climate, the fruit here is fresh and beautiful with high quality, firm and sweet. It has become a must-try fruit for many visitors and travellers to this Central Highland city.
The fruit was brought to Đà Lạt by the French in the early 20th century, making Đà Lạt the oldest location in Việt Nam to grow these tasty strawberries, Vinh said.
Vinh then told a folk tale about the origin of strawberry plants. A fairy was assigned by her father, the Jade Emperor, to grow a special plant in her royal garden, so the fairy toured the lower world’s beautiful gardens to talk with their owners about how to create a new kind of plant.
The fairy came upon a beautiful garden, much like others she had visited, but the mood of the young female gardener there drew the fairy into the garden. The beautiful girl had a sad face, but it seemed that her heart was calling. The girl picked up a piece of earth and made dots on it, each dot captured a wave of love surging up from her heart, and a new kind of plant came into being.
The fairy came to the girl and said: “This is a new plant; put it in the ground and care for it with all the love from your heart. When the fruit is ripe, pick it and present it to a man you love and happiness will certainly come.”
The fairy named the plant Strawberry, then she flew back to heaven.
The girl was very surprised to see that the earth in her hands had sprouted a young plant. She placed it on the ground and took care of it very carefully. The plant grew day after day until one day she discovered the first red strawberries on it. When these fruits were ripe their fragrance spread throughout the whole garden, and the girl was blessed with happiness.
Strawberry has now become the main crop of Đà Lạt and its surrounding areas. Great quantities of quality fruits are supplied to markets and supermarkets nationwide, Vinh said.
“It not only helps farmers earn stable monthly income but also their gardens lure a lot of guests to tour and pick the fruits. This has helped to promote the development of tourism to Đà Lạt so much,” he said.
Herbalist Lương Minh Tuấn, from the Centre of Traditional Medicine in Hà Nội, said strawberry helps to strengthen the immune system, is very good for the eyes, and can help to prevent cancer.
Tuấn said people with bad cholesterol, or who suffer diabetes or blood hypertension are are advised to eat strawberríe daily.
“You can enjoy fresh strawberry or its juice mixed with yogurt, in salad with other fruits and vegetables, or use it as a tasty ingredient to make custard or jams,” Tuấn said. — VNS