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TRADITIONAL CULTURE

Bamboo Bounty (Paywalled)

For the farmers of Jiangjun village, spring is the season for a sizable harvest

“Lovely bamboos cover the north and south mountains/ There’s green as far as the eye can see./ We set off with hoes in twos and threes/ And return sated on the shoots we eat,” goes Wang Mulan’s “Shimen Bamboo Poem” from the late Qing dynasty, describing a yearly pastoral scene of bamboo-picking in late spring.

The moso bamboo, or maozhu  (毛竹), is a giant bamboo native to China that can grow up to 28 meters in height. Its edible shoots, known as maosun (毛笋), are a delicacy prized for their large size and chewy texture, and are harvested during a precise window between the Qingming Festival and Guyu (“Grain Rain”) period, which marks the end of spring in the Chinese calendar.

Each year during this time, farmers from Jiangjun village, Fujian province, make daily trips up the mountain to collect this bounty of spring. The 500-mu (82-hectare) bamboo forest can be reached from the village by a three-kilometer backcountry drive. “The dirt road was narrow, with steep sides. Since it had just rained a few days ago, the bumpy ride was just like a rollercoaster,” photographer Li Guochao, who rode along for the journey, wrote in a blog post.

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Bamboo Bounty (Paywalled) is a story from our issue, “Contagion.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.

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Hatty Liu is the managing editor of The World of Chinese.

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