Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure Area

Introduction of the Spot

“The mountain of flowers and fruits” is beautiful in all seasons. Tourists can experience the chef’s tasting menu and listen to local stories.

Zhentoushan, nicknamed “Zhenshan,” has abundant produce, including mulberries in spring, guavas and wax apples, persimmons and pitayas in fall, and kumquats and tangerines in winter. In the early years, farmers here mainly grew peaches and plums. In spring when the flowers bloom, the place looks breathtaking. Tourists even call the place the “mountain of flowers and fruits.” TV dramas and movies often shoot scenes here. There are also natural landscapes such as Leigongpi, and the Alancheng natural gushing spring. The villagers work together to support the development of the area. Zhentoushan Leisure Agricultural Area Zone, which includes three rural villages – Zhenshan Village, Tongle Village and Toufen Village – often wins awards for excellence.

Besides the natural environment and produce, the yards and landscaping in every household here makes this place a beautiful leisure agriculture zone. Chief of Staff Xu Yu-hao said that the villagers work well together. They not only take care of spaces 2 to 3 meters away from their gates, but also clean up areas 20 meters from their homes. Because this area is well-developed, many people are attracted to work hard together for their hometown. Flower and fruit farmers as well as those able to bring in aesthetic and decoration concepts contribute to the beauty of the area. This is not only one of the earliest leisure agriculture zones established, but also one of the most beautiful.

With a lot of orchards at Zhentoushan Leisure Agricultural Area Zone, tourists are able to have fun picking vegetables and fruit all year round, trying layering growing guavas as well as making a straw broom on their own. They can also take a group tour for the “wild flower and fruit meals and four-season rural feast.” Mothers in the village turn into chefs and make brilliant chef’s tasting menus, serving the freshest local ingredients in Yilan, including kumquats, water bamboos, Sanxing green onions, and pumpkins. They also serve cherry duck, smoked and corn duck meat wrapped with clay oven rolls, as well as candied roselles and vinegar ginger. These dishes not only reduce carbon footprint, but tourists also have the rare experience of dining in the orchard and listening to the locals tell their stories of the dishes. This way visitors get to learn about interesting rural village culture and life.

It is worth mentioning an important part of the tour – picking kumquats. Yilan yields 90% of the kumquats in Taiwan. Kumquats can be used extensively, as an ingredient in kumquat rice bread and kumquat pork chop to candied kumquats and kumquat vinegar. As for the flowers, the succulent plant leisure farm has become quite popular. The leisure farm grows rare nepenthes, Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants so it's worth a visit.

champion in “Yilan Kumquat Quality Assessment.” They are also one of the few kumquat farmers able to grow kumquats with zero pesticide residue. Tourists can eat and pick kumquats without worry.

The peels of citrus fruits are highly nutritious, but the only citrus fruits with edible peels are kumquats, harvested in mid- and late-December every year. Hsu Hsi-Chin grows Fortunella Margarita, the most grown kind of kumquat in Taiwan. These are known as "long kumquats" to the general public. The peels taste sweet, but the pulp tastes sourer and sourer inside. When you bite the whole kumquat, it tastes sour first then sweet and has a sweet aftertaste. The taste has various layers. Another kind of kumquat is “yellow crystal.” It looks rounder and tastes sweet from peel to pulp, therefore, it attracts a lot of insects and birds pests. Because it yields less, it is more expensive.

It is difficult to grow kumquats without pesticides. Because kumquats are small and grow on mass, it is impossible to bag kumquats or grow them in a net room. The juice-absorbing large citrus stink bugs come out every July and August. Hsu Hsi-Chin uses pesticides from March to June and stops from July to November and catch and vacuum the bugs every day. Each year in December when the kumquats are harvested and examined, they have no pesticide residue at all.

The farmer understands life through growing nepenthes. Po’s Farm carnivorous plant museum is the only one in Taiwan.

“At first, if fertilized too much, nepenthes grow only leaves instead of pitcher cups.” Nepenthes have unique “pitcher’s cups,” able to catch and digest insects for nutrients. Cheng Qi-po introduced two pots of nepenthes from the Netherlands thirty years ago and established the only eco-farm with a carnivorous plant theme in Taiwan, collecting more than 60 kinds of nepenthes. However, at first, he did not grow nepenthes well. He said laughingly that like raising a child, when the plant is over-protected, its growth weakens. Chen Qing-po realizes that this is what life is like growing nepenthes. He cares about promoting environmental protection more.

His son Cheng Chih-Hao studied Chinese medicine in Nanjing and Shanghai. He gradually took over matters regarding cultivating and reproducing nepenthes as well as offering guided tours. He even makes drinkable nepenthes jelly and teaches tourists to make nepenthes moss balls. He said laughingly that over the decades he grown at least 100,000 nepenthes, and in future he will continue promoting the fun of planting and stressing the beauty of living art.

It is healing to assemble potted plants. Mu Qu Succulent Farm also provides organic gulzotia flowers.

Enjoying growing plants and picking broken tiles since she was little, Huang Li-Hua grows succulents and ferns on the 1,000-ping land of her own. She often posts her works of plants on Facebook, attracting many people with the same interests to interact with her. Ten years later, the farm opened in 2019. Wandering around the Osmanthus lane at the intersection, neighbors are often invited to visit the farm. This is how the villagers heard of the beautiful succulent farm in Zhenshan.

“My husband and I both held a hoe and plant an Osmanthus sprout every 30 centimeters. We planted more than 650 Osmanthus trees to serve as a green fence. It was during Chinese New Year. The two of us, with two hoes and two pairs of hands, often worked hard until midnight.” In the countryside, people often go to bed at 8:00. The neighbors felt weird seeing the couple working so late. But they finally understood what they were doing seeing such a beautiful paradise these years. The Farm not only provides DIY potted plant assembling courses, but offers organic gulzotia flower tea that the hostess planted herself.