Travels in Longci
Bamboo sprouts, pineapples, and longan are the major agricultural specialties of Longci. Due to the special sandy soil, the bamboo shoots and pineapples grown here carry a special flavor. As bamboo forests are colorful in all seasons, Longci is known as the “Hometown of Colorful Bamboo”.
This district is very infertile as it is located in a hilly area formed by mudstone and yellow sandy soil, and green bamboo shoots, Taiwan giant bamboo shoots, and pineapples are the major agricultural products of the district. Thanks to the unique soil content different from that of Guanmiao, bamboo shoots and pineapples from Longci have a special flavor. In fact, the output of pineapples and bamboo shoots from Longci tends to outnumber that of Guanmiao.
The longan is the agricultural specialty of Daling Borough of this district. During June and July, it is everywhere in the borough. Therefore, when the longan flower blossoms in March and April, it is the “honey season” for beekeepers. Locals run dry longan processing factories to market dried longan from the borough.
As bamboo forests are everywhere and forestation was encouraged in the district, bamboo weaving and forestry play a crucial role in the district’s agricultural development.
In Longci, there are about 937.80 hectares of farmland, including 4.10 hectares of paddy fields and 933.70 hectares of upland fields. However, there are 4,690.12 hectares of forests. In addition, over 90% of the district is protected slope land and forests, suggesting that forestry is a major agricultural practice in the district. Therefore, encouraging forestation is one of the missions of this district office.
In recent years, the Longci Farmers’ Association built traditional Japanese bamboo charcoal kilns to make bamboo charcoal with mature bamboo (4-6 years old). After autogenous carbonation at high temperature in the kiln, bamboo becomes refined bamboo charcoal after heat decomposition for more than a dozen days. Due to its special porous structure, bamboo charcoal absorbs moisture, odors, and impurities superbly.
The far infrared contained in bamboo charcoal can accelerate heat and blood circulation. Bamboo charcoal also releases ions and rich minerals (trace elements). These trace elements, such as water-soluble potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, contained in bamboo charcoal are three times higher than those in general wood charcoal. Hence, bamboo charcoal is part of a new regimen in the 21st century. With the guidance of the industrial and academic cooperation program of the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute of the Council of Agriculture, the economic value of bamboo has been redefined through bamboo charcoal and the combination of the characteristics of this district with environmental protection and the mainstream concepts of health in the new century. As a result, related bamboo charcoal products have been developed, including bamboo vinegar, bamboo charcoal sheets, bamboo charcoal quilts, bamboo charcoal pillows, bamboo charcoal socks, bamboo vinegar bathing lotions, bamboo vinegar shampoos, bamboo charcoal noodles, and bamboo sprout noodles. By turning bamboo charcoal into another specialty of Longci, we hope to sell bamboo charcoal products to all parts of Taiwan.
Longci District Farmers’ Association consumer hotline: 06-5940015 Bamboo Charcoal Story House: 06-5941730
Although grandpas and grandmas in Longci are not young anymore, they are extremely creative. Besides making various bamboo ornaments by improving traditional craft techniques, they exert their craft skills acquired when they were young to roll out creative ornaments. For example, some make models of the traditional three-section compound by bonding up bamboo sticks and mini-bullock carts and stoves with plywood. In fact, smoke can come out from stoves. All these demonstrate the youthful creativity of the grandpas.
When traveling to Longci, visitors can try special dishes such as stewed bamboo sprout noodles, pineapples and bitter gourd chicken, watch locals weaving bamboo hats, listen to local painter, bamboo artist and tour guide Lin Sian-hua’s scholarly quatrain, and visit the road leading to the Nioupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park. “No need to ask for the direction. Get off National Highway No. 3, drive eastward to Guanmiao and look for County Highway No. 182. Drive for less than half an hour” to explore the rural fun of Longchi.
There are rich natural resources and scenic spots around Longci, such as Mt. Huxing Park, Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park, and Fanshe Forest Trail, which are all reengineered spots. The Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park is also adjacent to Neimen of Kaohsiung. After two decades of hard work, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau of the Council of Agriculture has turned the park into a soil and water conservation demo site, which attracts many visitors, including tourists from mainland China, making it a popular tourist attraction. As the pineapple is a local agricultural specialty, the “pineapple tea” is quite popular. Konjac jelly mixed with ice is a special snack offered by the local community.
When visiting the Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park, visitors can join a bamboo weaving DIY program or pickled pineapples/bamboo sprouts DIY activities, taste special local blend coffee, pineapple tea and konjac jelly, or enjoy set meals of local cuisine (NT$2,000/table) in Longsing Community. Reservation number: 06-5947270.