The squashes in Chanh Trach village, My Tho commune, Phu My district weigh as much as an adult thanks to the rare fertile soil.
Recently, the squash rig in front of Mr. Ton’s house collapsed, dozens of heavy fruits dangling and falling to the ground. It was a meal when Mrs. Huong and his wife went to Saigon to visit their children, he sat at home and looked out when he heard a crackling sound. “The bamboo truss has not been rebuilt for three years, but it will go on strike until next season,” he said.
“The pumpkin tree has collapsed, ma’am”, listening to her husband say over the phone, Ms. Huong impatiently got on the bus back to her hometown. “The truss is very heavy, fortunately he was not standing under the truss at that time, otherwise I have to worry,” said Mrs. Huong.
Mr. Hung is on the left of the largest squash
Mr. Ton is approximately 70 years old, pumpkin gardens have been familiar to him since childhood. He calculated, each truss has a few dozen to nearly a hundred fruits, each fruit is 30-60 kg, the bamboo rig has to bear the force of nearly half a ton. “In the past, the collapse of the rig was not a strange thing,” he said.
Chanh Trach hamlet, My Tho commune, Phu My district (Binh Dinh) is called a giant squash village with about 50 growing households. People often sow seeds in December and start harvesting at the end of April of the lunar calendar, when the fruit has reached a weight of over 50 kg, with fruit up to 60 kg.
To prevent the fruit from falling to the ground, they hooked up homemade hammocks to “sleep” under the truss. In the middle of the sunny season, the swaying and sparkling pumpkins surprise and delight people from afar. But the strange thing is, when asking for seeds to plant, nowhere can give big fruit like here.
No scientist has yet explained why squash in this land gives giant fruit. The people of Chanh Trach village believe that the unique squash variety is obtained due to the special soil and traditional farming methods.
This land is surrounded by mountains on three sides, facing the sea, in the middle is a swamp. According to an old story, there was a giant who carried two mountains to stop the flow of water monsters, and when he came to this place, the pole broke and the mountain fell. In the flood season, the soil and mountains fall along with the water flowing into the river bed, settling alluvium.
Mr. Nhu Xuan Nhan – Head of Chanh Trach village said that in the past, Bau Chanh Trach was a big river, then it was alluvial. When people dig wells, people still see rotting shipwrecks or shells.
Until now, Chanh Trach is still a low-lying area, each flood season, alluvium continues to grow more fertile. Dubbed the “gall bladder” of Binh Dinh, Bau gave birth to two species of “heterosexual flowers”: 3-month-old sticky rice and giant squash.
Grandparents passed on to choose the largest fruit, when the pumpkin is old, take the seeds to dry for the next season. Thus, good traits are selected from generation to generation. In addition, people have to promote squash by putting a lot of manure, oil cake to increase nutrition for the soil.
The squashes of Mrs. En’s house are hung in a hammock so they don’t fall off the rig.
Pumpkin is used from the time the leaves are young until the fruit is old. Ms. Nguyen Thi En said that she can take branches and leaves to boil, when she grows up, she can take the fruit to cook soup. In particular, pumpkin juice is used by people in bottles and jars collected from squash, which is considered the quintessence when absorbing the soil and water of Bau Chanh Trach. “This water cools the body and detoxifies,” En shares.
Find the output for squash
Weight is both unique and difficult to harvest. Villagers often gather two or three people to “process” the squash to the ground. After harvesting, the consumption stage is also very elaborate. “In the past, I had to carry it to the market to sell it. If I couldn’t sell it all, I would send it back for the next session,” said Mr. To. Today, in addition to consumption in small markets, traders also buy squash to make juice, jam, and sell in supermarkets.
Last year, squash sold for 4,000 VND per kg, a pole of squash earned up to 15 million VND. But according to people, squash consumption is very slow. “This year, it has been advertised online, but not many people have come to ask to buy it. If it doesn’t sell, it has to be split and dried, cooked to drink,” said Ms. Kieu Uyen, a family with more than two poles of squash.
Two years ago, when the squash village gradually became famous in the media. A travel company has linked with gardeners to launch a community tour to this village.
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thach – Director of the company said that as a son of Phu My, who worked at the Binh Dinh Department of Tourism, he realized that the “giant squash” tour was a potential niche market.
Visitors enjoy taking pictures with giant squash
“Visitors are very interested and curious, they like to take pictures with squash that weigh as much as adults,” Mr. Thach shared. In addition, visitors come here to drink pure squash juice, star squash tea on embers and stewed squash soup with bones.
According to Mr. Thach, the output of squash is always a dilemma. In order to improve his family’s income, he pays the entrance fee for the people. Visitors also buy squash to take home. In addition, people have to diversify products from squash such as pumpkin jam, pumpkin juice…
“It is possible to combine bringing tourists to visit the squash village with visiting scenic spots, landscapes, and experiencing local nature,” said the director of the travel company.