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From The Archives | A Gentlewoman Farmer
A distantly related relative decided that she will do her part and change the food scene in China by being a lone voice in growing clean, organic food using the natural resources of a magical mountain she found in the Yao Indigenous Self Governing Region. Being a city person originally, idealistic, and cynical regarding the rampant fake food all over China, she was ecstatic when she found this pristine, completely natural, very remote mountain with no roads.
We were trekking around, helping her find the wild tea that needs to be harvested, in thick undergroves, covered by ferns and lots of other medicinal herbs. Apparently, this mountain is full of beautiful chrysanthemum wild and rampant, as well as mulberry, woodears and countless, nameless herbs. The occasional wild boar also surfaces to eat the excellent yams that grow everywhere.
We will be harvesting the wild chrysanthemum with her in the fall, and introducing the delicious mulberry leaves as an alternative herbal. Thirst crunching and lemony, these leaves are quite a bit more interesting than your standard chamomile or mint herbal tea. Plus, one imagines helping the local Yao people survive and maintain their tradition, and not become Han-ized. Han refers to the main tribe, the standard issue Chinese one is used to. The larger tribe always forces assimilation. Here I stand up for the Yao people. They speak Cantonese!