Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Bandung Countryside #2 and The Strawberry Story
Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan
This is another photo I took at my morning countryside walk with some colleagues recently.
As I said before, Bandung may be a bustling metropolis, but the countrysides surrounding it are still very rural and scenic; better still, they are never far away. This scenic panorama of a village in Cikole area, for example, is located only 17 kilometers (about 10 miles) north of Bandung.
Being located on a highland and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, Bandung's soil is very fertile. Combine that with the mild and cool climate, what you get is abundance of agriculture produce (I said here, Bandung and West Java in general have the largest and most productive tea plantations in the country). Bandung is a major producer and one of the largest suppliers of vegetables on the island of Java.
Strawberry, or more precisely garden strawberry (Fragaria X Ananassa), the most common variety of strawberry cultivated worldwide, is the offspring of the accidental cross between North American strawberry (Fragaria Virginiana) whose nice flavor is very well known, and bigger-sized Chilean stawberry (Fragaria Chiloensis). This plant was first cultivated in Europe in the 18th century. There is a large varieties of stawberry cultivated worldwide, but this garden stawberry is supposed to be their Adam and Eve ^_^, including those cultivated in Bandung.
"Strawberry Tourism" (my term) is now very popular in Bandung. A lot of stawberry gardens are now open for the sole purpose of entertaining visitors's curiosity about this non-native plant. In these places you can pick this savory fruit yourselves, then weigh your picks and pay them at the cashier. Prices range from about 20,000 rupiahs (about US$2.2) to 30,000 (about US$ 3.3) per kilogram, depending on size and ripeness.