Yellow strawberry gardens in Nguyen Phich commune, Ca Mau province, adjacent to U Minh Ha Forest and along the Cai Tau River, have existed for hundreds of years. The Cai Tau strawberry garden has become a tourist attraction.
Bui Thi Diem Trang says she is proud of having a special Cai Tau strawberry garden in U Minh. (Photo: VOV)
The yellow strawberry originated in Malaysia but has been grown throughout Southeast Asian countries for a long time. In Vietnam, this special fruit tree is found only in the Mekong Delta, and the Cai Tau garden is the area’s largest.
Cai Tau strawberries are large, thin-skinned, succulent, sweet, slightly sour, and yellow when ripe.
In recent years, people in the U Minh Ha Forest have begun shrimp farming for higher economic efficiency, but a number of local households have continued to grow yellow strawberry trees.
Cai Tau strawberries usually ripen around Reunification Day, April 30, and International Workers' Day, May 1, and orchard owners often take advantage of the occasion to invite visitors take photos and buy fruits. The best time to visit is between April and June.
The Rung Nho garden of Bui Thi Diem Trang in hamlet 15, Nguyen Phich commune, received 400 visitors on Reunification Day this year. Her orchard has 60 trees which were planted in 2004 and is always crowded. Her family charges 1.3 USD per visit and a kilo of strawberries for the same price. This gives Trang’s family a stable income.
“The ripe yellow strawberries look beautiful. Visitors ask me, the garden owner, to explain why salt water shrimp farming is does not affect the green orchards. I protect this garden for economic development,” said Trang.
Ba Liem of hamlet 10 in Nguyen Phich commune has restored a strawberry garden with 200 trees at his eco-tourism site. Although there are a variety of trees in Liem’s orchard, his Cai Tau yellow strawberry trees always attract the most attention.
Liem said many people, especially the elderly, visit the gardens to revive old memories. “Strawberry trees used to be closely linked to the name Cai Tau. War veterans remember the land on the riverside as a shelter of revolutionaries. The local strawberry growers protected and helped the revolutionaries, who still recall lots of memories of that time,” Liem recalled.
Nguyen Gia Huy, a resident of Ca Mau city, told VOV that he saw an ad on the Facebook saying that yellow strawberries are the main crop.
“The garden is luxuriant and full of fresh air, much cooler than the city. I've seen the strawberries, but I’ve never been to the strawberry garden before,” said Huy.
Cai Tau strawberry gardens are a favorite destination for young people to visit and take photos. (Photo: VOV)
There are four remaining yellow strawberry gardens in Nguyen Phich commune, with a fairly large area for community tourism development.
Nguyen Thanh Gil, Deputy Chairman of the Nguyen Phich communal People's Committee, said the local administration has encouraged people to maintain and restore strawberry gardens for tourism development.
“The locals have experience in growing strawberry trees and the soil is good for this fruit. They have turned the gardens into community tourism attractions. The commune administration has organized training courses in farming techniques for the villagers because we recognize Cai Tau strawberries as a key local tourism product,” said Gil.
Visitors to Cai Tau can take a boat tour to enjoy the scenery of U Minh Ha Forest, lie in a hammock under the canopy of the strawberry trees, listen to folk music, and sample local dishes.