由農場到餐桌/A journey from farm to table

夏季本地出產的蔬菜,有來自粉嶺、蕉徑、沙嶺農場的高腳白菜、小唐菜、菜心、四角豆及節瓜等。

香港往往被視為國際金融中心,高樓林立,但真實的香港,仍有許多鄉郊土地,有一半人口住在新界。昔日的本土農業,曾撐起3成本地菜供應,且擁有源遠流長的歷史:元朗絲苗米曾是古代朝廷貢品,粉嶺的鶴藪白菜是香港名菜(英文名字就是直譯Hok Tau Bak),還有馬屎埔的唐芹、打鼓嶺的苦瓜雷公鑿等等,每位香港農夫都有其得意之作。不過,這些令人讚嘆的農產,或因不符現代市場標準而被排擠主流市場、或因農夫年紀漸大,找不到下一代承傳,早已封塵一角。

因居住地區鄰近田園,幸運地認識仍在耕田的農夫。正所謂近廚得食,近農得鮮, 當嚐過田園即摘時令菜,就像解開封塵已久的寶箱一樣,重新發掘在地好滋味,自己也希望友人能夠嘗到,就開始推出時令菜預訂服務。 

服務初起步,購買的朋友仍屬少數,為了節省港島區送菜的運費,周日繼續親自跨區送菜。最後一站,來到友人Candy和David的家裡,上一次見Candy已經係2年幾前的事,昨天才第一次見到他們的一對可愛孖女。

「嘩!睇下珊姨姨帶左咩野黎屋企?」Candy語帶興奮介紹,兩位孖女又真係坐定定睇我有咩「法寶」。

這真是頭一次,我感覺自己好似變左叮噹,係Candy和 David嘅孖女前面打開左個法寶袋,將袋裡面藏著的新界東北農提種出來的菜芯、節瓜、小棠菜、白菜和四角豆展示出來。蔬菜的鮮香味飄進客廳,兩位可人兒眼仔碌碌望住我好似拆禮物咁, 兩雙小手好奇地摸著菜心的葉和毛絨絨的節瓜,又想拿起比她們的頭還要大的白菜和菜心。小人兒手舞足蹈的大叫「瓜瓜」和「菜菜」很可愛!最後Candy拿起兩條四角豆放在她們的手心,讓她們感受一下呢款外型奇特嘅蔬果。

明明只打算來送菜,意外地跟孩子玩了一場本地菜green game,也感謝Candy和 David的晚餐接待!現代雙職父母不易為,特別係呢段時間,大家都花盡心思守護家人健康。如果能透過享用時令蔬菜,讓更多人有多一份安心,讓香港農夫有多一份收入,城鄉的朋友一起守護大地,我也會感到額外滿足呢。

Sow & Grow: A journey from farm to table

Hong Kong is often regarded as an international financial centre, with its many high-rise buildings, but the real Hong Kong still has a lot of rural land, with half of its population living in the New Territories. Back in the old days, local farming supported 30% of local food supply and has a long history: rice from Yuen Long was once sent as a tribute gift to the ancient power, Hak Tau Pak Choi from Fanling is one of Hong Kong’s most famous leaf veggie (its English name is a direct translation of Hok Tau Bak), as well as Tong Kan from Ma Shi Po and bitter Gourd from Ta Kwu Ling. However, these marvelous products have either been pushed out of the mainstream market because they do not meet modern market standards, or the farmers have grown too old to find the next generation to carry them on.

I am fortunate to know farmers who are still farming because of their proximity to the fields. As the saying goes, “close to the kitchen, you get food, close to the farmer, you get fresh veggies. When you taste the seasonal vegetables from the fields, it is like unlocking a treasure that has been sealed for a long time. 

In order to save on delivery costs, the service is available on Sundays. The last stop was at the home of friends Candy and David. It had been a couple of years since I last saw Candy and yesterday I met their lovely twins for the first time.

“Wow! Look at what Auntie Clarice has brought to the house”, Candy introduced the twins girls with excitement, and the girls sat down to see what I had to offer.

For the first time, I felt like a doraemon, as Candy and David’s twins opened the bag in front of me and showed me the vegetable cores, melons, cabbages and beans grown by farmers in Northeast New Territories. The fresh scent of the vegetables wafted into the living room, and the two lovely children looked at me as if they were opening a present. The little ones danced and shouted “Gua Gua” and “Choi Choi” so adorably! Finally, Candy picked up two beans and put them in her hands to let them feel this strange looking fruit and vegetable.

I was only going to deliver the vegetables, but I was surprised to play a green game with the children. It is not easy to be a working parent nowadays, especially during this time of year when we all put so much effort into keeping our family healthy. 

I would be more than happy if I could give more people more peace of mind and Hong Kong farmers more income by enjoying seasonal vegetables, and if friends from the city and countryside could work together to take care of the earth.

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