In the northwestern province of Sơn La, the Mộc Châu Plateau attracts visitors from far and wide to indulge in a plum-picking festival.
The vast gardens that span from the mountain foot to its peak are a sight to behold, drawing crowds from all over.
Venturing into a plum forest in Tân Lập Village, we were immediately captivated by the stunning red-purple plum branches that are still dusted with a delicate white layer. These bountiful branches hang among the lush green leaves, a true natural wonder.
The allure of these ripe and fruitful plum branches was not lost on my children. They were fascinated, reaching out to touch them repeatedly, urging me to capture images of these captivating plums.
|Many people flock to Mộc Châu to join the ongoing plum-picking festival. Photo tapchicongthuong.vn|
Joining a plum picking tour, I acted as a farmer, picking fruit and paying VNĐ50,000 (US$2.1) per kilo.
The purple plums are fresh and sweet.
Plum garden owner Phạm Văn Hồng said he welcomes a hundred visitors and travellers a day to pick fruit.
Some guests picked ten kilos a day to bring home as gifts to their relatives.
|Local girls are happy to join the festival. Photo vov.vn|
Locally known as mận hậu (hậu plums), Hồng said after eating a plum, eaters said the taste lingers in their mouths.
The trees were first planted in Mộc Châu in the 1980s and later spread to other regions like Sa Pa, Hà Giang and others. However, plums planted in Mộc Châu have the best taste.
“The hậu plum has helped to bring Mộc Châu to the map of Việt Nam’s fruit centre that is known far and wide, luring an increasing guest, including foreign tourists to the area,” he said.
|A traveller shows off her picked plum basket. Photo mia.vn|
From the Mộc Châu, touring along the road from Tân Lập Village to Sơn La City, you can enjoy the dazzlingly white colour of plum flowers in spring, which turns purple-red in summer, Hồng said.
Many people prefer to dip hậu plums in salt mixed with fresh chilli while others bring it home to make it become salted-sugared plums that are unforgettable, he said.
Nguyễn Thị Hoa, deputy chairwoman of Mộc Châu District, said the district often organises picking plum festival every year to create opportunities for growers to co-operate with businesses inside and outside the country to mobilise social finance to help Mộc Châu’s plums to become special products to serve customers.
|Mộc Châu's salted- sugar hậu plums (locally known as ô mai mận) are among many other salted-sugar fruits sold available in Hà Nội downtown. Photo ngonhanoi.com.vn|
“We hope that businesses will invest in postharvest processing such as plum juice or plum jam,” Hoa said.
She told Việt Nam News that there are many plum-picking destinations in Mộc Châu, such as Phiêng Khoang Mountain Peak with ancient plump trees, many of them are 50 years old.
But the most famous one is Nà Ka plum valley in Tân Lập Village. With more than 100 hectares of plum, the valley has been chosen to hold plum picking festival since 2014 in the middle of May every year, with hundreds of visitors flocking in.
The plum season starts from April to July. VNS