Nanjing is well-known for its sleepy tree-lined streets, lakeside parks and large amount of green spaces on and around Purple Mountain. Less well known, however, are the rural farming areas immediately outside of Nanjing. But just a 45-minute bus ride south to the county of Lishui (溧水), will immerse visitors amid mountains terraced with plum trees, tea leaf plants and strawberry fields. The tea, plum, and strawberry picking area is great for an outdoorsy date or a fun family day-trip with the kids.
Lishui is home to the largest area of strawberry fields in Jiangsu province. The strawberry fields are concentrated in a valley among Lishui’s mountains called the Fu Jia Bian Strawberry Fields (傅家边草莓园). The rows of greenhouses constitute about 6,000 hectares (almost 15,000 acres) and were originally planted in 2001 as part of a government sponsored agricultural tourism project between the Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Zhenjiang Agricultural Science Institute and the local farmers and government of the Lishui area.
After nearly 10 years of Jiangnan rain, sun and humidity, the fields of greenhouses have firmly taken root. Lishui holds annual strawberry and plum blossom festivals typically from around mid-February until the end of April, though the weather can be a bit cold and the fruit is not yet ripe around this time. The best time to go is late April and early May, when the strawberries are ripe but the temperature inside the greenhouses is not yet sweltering. If you go from June to August, expect the mercury to shoot up to around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the greenhouse.
All of the strawberry greenhouses are locally run and open to the public. Owners of most greenhouses will give strawberry pickers a manageable box with handles (about the size of two shoe boxes) to fill with strawberries. When guests are finished picking berries, the box is weighed and paid for by weight. A full box of fresh strawberries will run you about 25-30 RMB.
In addition to the strawberries, the Da Jin mountain area (大金山风景区) is terraced with plum, pear and peach trees whose fruit is most ripe from the beginning of June to August. There are also rows of tea plants for guests to pick. These areas are owned and gardened by local farmers, so visitors to the area ought to look for the local farmer and strike up a deal first before picking fruit or tea leaves.
If you chose to visit the mountain during the cooler autumn season (September to early November) the terraced hills offer beautiful walking paths.
Local farmers have set up many small home-cooking style halls and cafes both on the mountain side and among the strawberry fields. One of the best parts of country-side trips is always the local food and this area of Jiangsu is bound to serve local river long-fish, the base of young bamboo plants, local pig’s leg and strawberry juice. Cafes on the mountain will also serve the locally grown and fresh picked tea.
Add: Fu Jia Bian Strawberry Fields, Lishui County, Dajinshan Scenic Area, Nanjing
Opening times: Daylight hours, mid-February through October
Price: Tickets to Fu Jie Bian Strawberry Garden cost 22 RMB; entrance to the Da Jin Mountain Scenic Area are 30 RMB each.
Getting there: Fu Jia Bian Strawberry Fields (傅家边草莓园) are located south of Lishui just off the Ning Gao Expressway (宁高高速). From Zhonghua men subway station located on Subway Line 1, take a bus to Lishui. There are many buses to Lishui, you just listen for drivers calling out the destination. Bus tickets cost 14 RMB. Get off the bus at the last stop in Lishui and walk about 200 metres (abut 650 feet) in the direction of the Lishui Government building and a Bank of Construction. Across the street, are many drivers who will take you to Fu Jia Bian Strawberry Garden for a small fee.
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Keywords: Strawberry tea leaf picking Lishui Nanjing picking strawberries tea leaves Lishui Nanjing
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