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Eating with the Seasons

Post Date:  Sunday 12 May 2019
Category:  Sustainable Living

Supply of cucumber at the Central Farmers’ Market (Central Star Ferry Pier 7) is a sign of the imminence of summer in Hong Kong. On 12th May 2019, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) held a public workshop featuring this popular summer crop to highlight the variety of summer crops that are produced by local organic farms.

KFBG encourages consumers to keep up with the changing seasonal produce grown locally as a practical step to enjoy a healthy, safer and earth-friendly diet. YIP Tsz Lam, KFBG Senior Agriculture said, ‘cropping according to the natural rhythm of nature is an important traditional farming practice and it remains a core principle of today’s sustainable agriculture. By growing the right crops that require growing conditions that are compatible to the seasonal weather conditions of a place, farmers enjoy the most of nature’s service in terms of temperature, humidity, sunlight exposure and pest control.’

KFBG has been running the weekly, organic, Central Farmers’ Market at the Star Ferry Pier since 2007 to offer a fair-trade platform to bridge mutual support between local, organic farmers and consumers. The platform enables farmers to enjoy a fairer return for their hard work and allow consumers to access locally grown, organic, chemical-free greens that are in season.

During a cookery demonstration using cucumber as the main ingredient, Ms Queenie Shum, KFBG Agriculture Officer highlighted, ‘eating with the seasons a traditional Chinese wisdom to keep our inner environment in pace with the outer environment – this wisdom is particularly valid today in view the escalating food safety crisis and climate change challenges as it reduces carbon emission and pollution that are related to long-distance transportation and artificial inputs such as pesticide, packaging waste and the electricity consumed by environmental conditioning to produce off-season crops,’

In the public workshop, the KFBG Agriculture Officers introduced the popular varieties of cucumber that are grown in Hong Kong. Food safety tips for choosing cucumber and the basic techniques for growing cucumber at household and community are explained. Key information highlighted is summarized as below:

Tips for Choosing Cucumber

There are escalating concern about the excessive application of synthetic chemicals in the global food system and news reports about various food safety issues, such as pesticide, growth hormones and antimicrobial residues in food, are escalating. Rather than serving the wellness of consumers, most of these synthetic inputs are applied to counter nature’s rules to cope with the commercial need of unsustainable food production and distribution chains.

While it is always hard to assess food safety risk of farm produce from its appearance, buying organic produces directly from local farmers at organic farmers’ markets or other reliable sources remain the most practical way to reduce the risk.

Off-season produces are either grown with extensive application of artificial inputs in terms of energy and chemicals, or bearing high food mileage due to long distance transport from areas of different climatic zones. They are always pricy, too. Eating with the seasons of a place helps one to save money, minimise carbon footprint and reduce food safety risk.

Tips for growing cucumber

Cucumber is regarded as a small-size variety in the Cucurbitaceae family. It is cross-pollinated, which means you do not need to grow many plants to ensure successful pollination. Added with cucumber’s moderate requirements for sunlight and space, it is one of the most popular summer crop for city farming.

Wrapping each cucumber with a net bag when the fruits start to set is an effective measure to protect against melon fly. Installation of Pheromone-traps (available in most gardening shops) can be considered for a large scale of production.

Tips for cooking cucumber

Cucumber is one of the few varieties in the Cucurbitaceae family which can be consumed in raw. Fresh cucumbers are delicious, and it is an amazing ingredient for salad and many other summer dishes. It is also great to pickle cucumber to enhance its nutritional components and cookery application. For more information and recipes, please visit the following links:
http://www.lowcarbonliving.hk/eng/lowcarbonrecipe-eng.aspx
http://www.lowcarbonliving.hk/eng/SeasonalCrops.aspx

About the Central Famers Market
Date: Every Sunday
Time: 11am – 5pm
Venue: Central Ferry Pier No.7
Organiser: Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, in collaboration with a group of organic farmers in Hong Kong
Public enquiry: sla@kfbg.org
Website: www.kfbg.org/eng/events/central-farmers-market.aspx
Media Enquiry: Cindy Luk, Communication Officer of KFBG
Tel: 2483 7270
Email: media@kfbg.org