The Sweet, Hidden Gem of Chiayi: Farms in Minxiong

August 16 2020, 1:25am

Readers of Collecting EXP will know how much I love produce. It’s no surprise that I also love checking out the farms where this produce comes from.

One area that’s turned farms into yet another tourist destination in Taiwan, is the Minxiong (民雄 / min xiong) area located in Chiayi County (嘉義縣 / jia yi xian).

Because of the slightly acidic red soil, the terrain of the area, and its relationship to the Tropic of Cancer, the area is ripe for pineapple growth. This region, is known by many as the “Home of Pineapples” for the sheer number of pineapples produced in Taiwan. The combination of tropical and sub-tropical microclimates makes the area perfect for growth of many other fruits and vegetables as well.

On this day, we first stopped by Pineapple Hill. As it was a week day, it was fairly quiet. We were the only customers at the time.

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Here’s their mascot.

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This stand is super busy during the summer, serving cold pineapple treats.

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“Good sip, good fun” (好呷,好玩 / hao xia , hao wan).

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I always love seeing the different varieties of pineapple they have in Taiwan. The ones in the back have super tiny fronds.

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We enjoyed a few samples before heading to the fields in the back. We sampled their pineapple cake, a local oolong tea, pineapple vinegar, and a pineapple wine. I still haven’t gotten used to drinking vinegar.

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Because pineapple season had passed, there weren’t many pineapples to be found. Instead, there were just fields of pineapple plants as far as the eye could see.

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Growing up with only one variety of pineapple in the grocery store, it’s always so refreshing to see these plants up close.

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This one kind of looks like the ones I’m used to state-side.

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Out front they had what looked like charms, made out of pineapples, for wishing.

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This Lantana bush was just too pretty to pass by.

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“Why yes, I would like some pineapple soft serve.”

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After stopping by Pineapple Hill for a bit, we decided to check out another local farm-turned tourist destination, Minxiong Kumquat Factory (金桔觀光工廠 / jin ju guan guang gong chang).

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The location is a little hard to find. There is a small road that’s seemingly squeezed between a building and street signage. Traveling down the road, you’ll get to a forested area that kind of looks like a campsite. The basic layout of the ground looks like the map above.

I didn’t have too much time to check out the grounds, but there is a restaurant, camping ground, grove full of jackfruit, and the factory (in addition to a host of other amenities).

This was the sight that greeted us as we entered the factory.

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One of the first things you’ll see when you enter the factory/museum is a gift shop. They have a host of citrus related products to choose from. I ended up getting some dried orange slices to eventually add to some baked good.

Of course, like any good museum, there’s a stamping area.

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In addition to the gift shop, there’s a windowed area where they show you how their products are produced.

There’s also a bunch of signage that takes you through different type of citrus that they sell: kumquat (金桔 / jin ju), oval kumquat (金棗 / jin zao), pomelo (柚子 / you zi), grapefruit (葡萄柚 / pu tao you), lemon (檸檬 / ning meng), lime (萊姆 / lai mu), orange (枊橙 / ang cheng). Which citrus fruit is your favorite?

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I always thought of citrus as growing on flat land, so it was cool seeing this graphic showing the temperatures and height above sea-level that these fruits grow in.

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Outside, we had a change to check out the grounds of the Minxiong Kumquat Factory. We relaxed on the hammocks for a bit before checking out the fruit grove. There were a bunch of fruit trees like this one.

I wonder what it taste likes.

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All in all, these farms a fun way to get closer to the foods we enjoy so much. It’s a chance to reflect on nature and to get closer to the land. The pineapples in the area are superb. I would totally recommend even picking up one for later eating. The kumquat farm was also cool. I really enjoyed their selection of dried fruit, despite the fact that I tend to stay away from dried fruit. If you’re driving by Chiayi City, don’t hesitate to stop on by.

旺萊山鳳梨文化園區 (Pineapple Hill)

金桔觀光工廠 (Minxiong Kumquat Factory)

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