Photo taken on Aug. 24, 2021 shows a view of Daguikou Village of Chengde City, north China's Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Jin Haoyuan)
SHIJIAZHUANG, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Villagers in Daguikou Village of Chengde City, north China's Hebei Province, dilute fermented milk with tap water and pour it over strawberry plants before the fruits ripen every year.
This is done to make the fruit sweeter and impart a distinctive aroma, unlike in conventional strawberry farming.
The milky strawberries are the wealth-building secret of the village, where the construction of an about 1.5-hectare strawberry town will start in the near future.
The story began with the introduction of milky strawberry planting technology about nine years ago.
Thanks to the high difference in day and night temperatures, an abundance of sunlight and mature planting technologies, the milky strawberries are of superior quality and have won almost every gold medal at the annual national strawberry expo since their introduction. Beehives are also kept in the corners of greenhouses to help improve pollination.
The fruit ripens in mid-November every year and the harvest season runs until the following July, said Lin Yanhui, a local strawberry farmer.
When milky strawberries first hit the market, they could sell for more than 80 yuan (about 12 U.S. dollars) per kg. Lin's family now has four greenhouses and makes an annual gross income of about 300,000 yuan. More villagers have ditched traditional crops for a sweet strawberry career.
Many citizens living nearby and tourists from across China are attracted to the once-sleepy village to experience strawberry picking.
The development of leisure tourism and agricultural research has brought an average annual income increase of 50,000 yuan to each household in the village.
Agriculture experts frequently visit the village, as villagers often crowd the teaching sites, eager to learn new techniques and acquire knowledge of planting. Whenever the farmers encounter any problems in planting, they also consult among themselves.
In addition to milky strawberries, organic grapes and other special produce help add to the village's boom. In 2020, the per capita disposable income of the village reached about 17,000 yuan.
"We have planted three strawberry varieties that ripen earlier than previous ones. We hope they can help us preempt the market," said Lin. Enditem