Phúc Trạch grapefruit is said to be “the first famed fruit” of the central province of Hà Tĩnh’s Hương Khê mountainous district as it was used as a gift for Nguyễn Dynasty Kings from 1802 onwards, according to Phan Thị Ngọt, 90, a local of Phúc Trạch Village.
The fruit is named after the village where locals first planted it more than a century ago.
|Phúc Trạch grapefruits are fully ripe but growers have found them difficult to sell due to social distancing. — Photo food.com.vn
Phúc Trạch grapefruits are different from other varieties and have a light, sweet and slightly sour flavour. It's mildly acrid, and its unique flavour is hard to forget.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading far and wide, Ngọt and her villagers have found it difficult to sell the fruit due to the country’s social distancing order.
“We have been suffering many worries as if we are sitting on a fire because our 300 grapefruit trees with more than 7,000 fruits are fully ripe," she said.
|Displaying Phúc Trạch grapefruits. — Photo doanhnghiepvn.vn
“The same period last year, traders from the north and the south already arrived at my garden to purchase the fruit, whereas this year only a few buyers came to our garden to see the fruit, but they were reluctant to purchase it due to the Government’s social distancing order at many localities.”
Ngọt now sends her fruits to relatives in Vinh City and sells them to acquaintances only.
As a result, the price has dropped from VNĐ40,000-50,000 to VNĐ20,000-22,000 per fruit.
To help locals deal with such difficulties, the Hà Tĩnh authorities have set up a working group to assist growers to sell their fruits by introducing Phúc Trạch Stall on Việt Nam’s big e-commerce sites such as Voso, Postmart, Sendo and Viettel post.
Ngọt said she hoped that the fruit would sell well via e-commerce.
|An online stall of Phúc Trạch grapefruits held by Hà Tĩnh's Hương Khê District. — Photo doanhnghiepvn.vn
Nguyễn Lan Anh from Hà Nội has just brought a dozen Phúc Trạch grapefruits online from Postmart at VNĐ40,000 per fruit.
“I like the fruit so much because it has a sweet fragrance that spreads to every corner of my house, while my mother is interested in the fruit for its rich sweetness combined with a light sourness to create a perfect flavour that attracts the elderly like her,” Anh said. "The fruit is also easy to peel, but the citrus is so succulent."
She said she always feels as if the sweet coolness of the fruit stays in her throat for a long time.
Bùi Thị Nga from the port city of Hải Phòng told Việt Nam News that she often buys a hundred Phúc Trạch grapefruits to preserve and enjoy the whole year-round.
|Phúc Trạch grapefruit is sweet, fragrant and succulent. — Photo truyenhinhdulich.vn
“Eating the grapefruit in the morning helps me feel more comfortable and conscious to begin a new day,” she said. " This year I will buy the fruits online for the approaching Mid-Autumn festival in the middle of the Eighth Lunar month (September 21). "
Researchers at the National Nutrition Institute said drinking a cup of grapefruit juice every day helped to reduce aging and prevent ailments connected to the cardiovascular system, indigestion and constipation.
They advise that for a strong digestive system, people should eat at least two grapefruits per day.
Phúc Trạch's fame has spread far and wide.
In 2020, the EU approved geographical indication protection for Phúc Trạch grapefruit, while in 2012 the Việt Nam Book of Records approved the fruit as a specialty among the 50 most outstanding fruits in the country.
In 1938, the fruit was awarded a gold medal at an international fair for the tastiest fruits in Indochina, held in Hong Kong.
The Far East Economic Review of Hong Kong said it was the tastiest fruit in Central Việt Nam and extremely moreish.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has listed the fruit as a specialty and said its genome needed to be preserved. It is among seven other rare and precious fruits as the export of their seeds is strictly prohibited. — VNS