Saturday, April 16, 2011

To market!

I'd heard that one central agricultural market supplies the majority of produce for the entire city of Beijing—according to this Global Times article, 70 % of vegetables and 80% of fruit (the photo above is an example of a typical city fruit vendor).

I'd also heard that the majority of Chinese agriculture is still conducted by individual small farmers, which is both heartening and scary—the latter due to the difficulty of enforcing regulations concerning pesticide and antibiotic use, and, you know, adding melamine and stuff.

These two things seemed hard to reconcile.

I decided to make a field-trip to said market: Xinfadi in Fengtai, South Beijing.

The photo above was taken at the entrance to the market, a huge dirt lot surrounded by walls that spreads out over a couple of city blocks.

The trucks line up in rings, sorted by the type of produce they sell. Apartment blocks of south Beijing in background. As mentioned in the GT article linked above, the market is due to move out to the 6th Ring Road in a year or so.

Scenes from around the market. As far as I can determine, the farmers bring their own produce in by truck. According to one article I read, the market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with the busiest time being from 4 to 6 AM.

Random foreigners apparently are not a common site at Xinfadi. You'd think the occasional Western chef would make his way out here to buy for a restaurant, but we didn't encounter any. Maybe they come at the magical 4 AM to 6 AM hour, if they come at all...

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