Archive | June, 2012

Protein dishes—-food in Hanzhou

29 Jun

We are spending more days in Hanzhou, Zhejiang Province than Beijing and Shanghai combined for this USDA FAS SCEP trip. Tomorrow we’ll visit West Lake—-strictly no sightseeing, but ‘investigation’ of aquatic plants there.

In case you feel ‘hungry’ from yesterday’s veggie dishes, I got some ‘protein dishes’ (aka, meat, fish, etc.) today. Enjoy!

Who said only the French devour goose liver? This delicacy was presented many times by local hosts. Today, a ‘vegetarian’ like me tripped over a dish with little diamond-shaped tofu like food. I thought it was stinky tofu, but turns out it was re-shaped goose liver. Well, I’m just ‘transitional’ vegetarian.

Since we’re not in Beijing, I hesitate to call this ‘Beijing roast duck’. Being vegetarian, I could only tell you that the white ‘green onion’ and the green cucumber tasted very good with the sauce.

I was not expecting flounder here in Hangzhou, but look at this piece o

After one of us (NOT me!) tasted the top of the dish, he said ‘this is corned beef’. I had corned beef in the US, so not having the taste as this beef here. The dried bamboo shoots were one of my favorites, crunchy and chewy.



No. 1 Horticulture in China—-food

28 Jun

We don’t even know how many food pictures we’ve taken since our first day here—-I always remind myself that this is a horticulture tour, so here’s the No. 1 Horticulture in China—–FOOD!

Although a chicken dish, the orchid and green on wasabe make it an art. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

How to make a Chinese/Hangzhou version of a southern staple, okra? A quick ‘bath’ of okra in hot oil in wok, and some pepper sauce for decor.

Can you find three plant elements here? Lotus root stuffed with sticky rice in sweet olive flower flavored honey.

Four plant elements here: asparagus stir-dry with wild rice (Zizania latifolia) stem decorated with dianthus flower and the bamboo chopsticks are ready.

I’m full now. More will be served later.

1st 2 days in China—7d late

28 Jun

AgriGarden and Beijing Int’l Flower Port

Friday saw the first day of a group of us Horticulturists from SEC (TX, AR, MS and LA) as a part of a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program with the People’s Republic of China, visiting Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences National Agricultural Sciences & Technology Demonstration Park.

It claims to be the first company working on Plant Factory, Urban Horticulture, Multi-Function Technology Hydroponics System, LED Plant Cultivation Lamp, and Home Gardening in China. We saw many plant factory and hydroponics production. I nibbled on every leafy green on my path and I knew it was not sprayed—-not just because the host told me so—-there were plenty of aphids, live, on the leaves.

Wallboard hydroponics

It was also the Dragon Festival—-we had ‘Zongzi’, sticky rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.

Saturday—-Beijing International Flower Port.  Beijing municipal government planed this as Beijing’s only professional flowers industrial park. It was the 7 th China Flower Expo China with overall planning 4 square kilometers and a development of 1.8 square kilometers. The park is located in Beijing YangZhen Shunyi District, only 20 kilometers from the Beijing International Airport.

Beijing Int’l Flower Port, est. 2007

There were 24 venlo type of greenhouses (5,000 m2 each; with a total of 1.3 million sqft). Each greenhouse cost at about RMB800/square meter ($11.7/sqft, if my math was correct). All the greenhouse are in use and the Port is working with Beijing Florascape Corp. to build the 25th greenhouse with inflated double poly (clear poly over woven poly) with shade cloth above roof and four layers of thermal curtains under the roof. Beijing Forascape Corp. imported the poly from Japan which has seen at least 10 years of lifespan of the poly.

No preparation is over-preparing

20 Jun

Sitting at SFO airport waiting for my flight CA 986 to Beijing, I’m still thinking ‘I should’ve…I could’ve…’

Seven hours ago, I had an international flight to catch at IAH-Houston @9:04am.

4:00am, I got up and fixed myself a bowl of cereal;

4:30am, my four-year-old woke up and begged me not to leave saying ‘you shouldn’t leave now, since it’s so dark outside’. Lots of tears;

5:00am, the shuttle leaves from CLL to IAH; anxiously waiting for the driver to call me;

5:15am, got on the shuttle; 5 min later, realized that I put on the wrong shoes;

7:30am (I was hoping for 6:30′. What a surprise!), arrived at IAH UA domestic—-forgot to tell the driver that I’d fly international;

7:41am, at the end of long UA check-in line;

8:00am, panic—-just ~1hr before flight, still behind ~10 people;

8:01am, left my luggage, went straight to a guy in uniform at the check-in, ‘I have a 9 o’clock. Can you help?’ and got my boarding pass.

8:15am, passes through security.


Last night, just found that I forgot my charger for my camera.

Yesterday afternoon, went to AgriLife to get my official travel credit card (still amazed by Kim’s efficiency—-talked to her on Monday!); opened a Bank of America checking account because there’s no service fee when you draw cash at China Construction Bank ATM, which my husband told me to do months ago; got some cash; bought a GoPhone.


You got the point—- No preparation is over-preparing, and not just when you travel, international.

Jump on the bandwagon of ‘American Grown’

14 Jun

All the ornamental producers, don’t miss the bandwagon of ‘American Grown’!
American Grown is the First Lady Michelle Obama’s veggie gardening book telling the story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.
The ornamental section probably has the highest percentage of ‘American Grown’ final product than any other sections of horticulture—-look around your garden center and it’s probably pretty hard to point out a flat, a landscape tree or shrub that’s imported from another country.So why not let others know?
Give this a try: Put on a HUGE banner saying “American Grown” around 4th of July, if not everyday (highly recommended, though).


Fighting crime? Plant more trees!

11 Jun

A study in the greater Baltimore region showed that “the more conservative spatially adjusted model indicated that a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime. When we broke down tree cover by public and private ownership for the spatial model, we found that the inverse relationship continued in both contexts, but the magnitude was 40% greater for public than for private lands.” Read more…

US floriculture is leaner. Is it meaner?

10 Jun

From the Floriculture Crops 2011 Summary:

– Total 2011 sales for the 15 states in the survey were $4.08 billion. That’s down 1.6% from 2010 ($4.15 billion).
– The top five states—California, Florida, Michigan, Texas and North Carolin

Compared to 2010:

-Six of 15 states saw increases, while the remaining nine saw drops in year-to-year sales.

– There were 6.5% fewer operations in the 2011 report than in the 2010, with losses in grower numbers occurring in every sales size classification, from smallest to largest growers.
– Total greenhouse space and total outdoor space used were both down.
– Foliage plants was the only industry segment reporting increased sales from 2010 to 2011 (+4.6%).