Serious strawberry fields forever in this cute Taiwanese farm town.
My mom used to grow strawberries in our front yard. As a child, I remember seeing little holes in the strawberries where the insects got to them. My mom would say it’s because they’re so sweet (like me) and everyone wants to be near them (haha). It was rare to find a perfect strawberry waiting to be picked, but it happened every so often. The flavor was exactly how you expected a strawberry to taste—sweet with sour undertones and a pure burst of strawberry yumminess.Naturally, I was very excited when I heard about a town in central Taiwan that specialized in growing strawberries and that we would be passing it on our travels around the island. Dahu is known for its strawberry harvest and upon driving through and seeing the endless strawberry farms, you know you’re in the right place for fresh berries. I couldn’t wait to relive my childhood for a bit. Upon arrival, the starting point for most visitors is the Dahu Strawberry Culture Association (大湖草莓文化館). Here you’ll find different shops selling all-things strawberry such as ice cream, vinegar, wine, snacks and souvenirs. Behind the complex are multiple fields that allow visitors to go strawberry picking. The farmers provide the rain boots and baskets, and you pay for your bounty by the kilo. It makes for a fun afternoon with the scenic mountain ranges in the background.Initially, we picked a farm because it looked the most photogenic but ended up meeting the farmers and quickly became good friends. The Su family have been in the strawberry business for over 60 years, initially starting in the strawberry jam business and now harvest a variety of strawberry types.We asked them about the harvest process and what makes a good strawberry. They said it happens three times a year and is highly dependent on the weather. If it’s too wet, the strawberries are not as flavorful and sometimes get too soggy. If it’s too hot or cold, the strawberries don’t grow well either. It’s been very rainy this year so their bounty has been less successful than previous years. The weather was a big topic that came up from multiple farmers on this trip. If the weather is bad, the crops don’t grow, and they don’t make any money. The life of a farmer!
Additionally, the Su Strawberry Farm is completely organic. Instead of pesticides, they use a secret homemade spice spray that involves red chili peppers from India. I asked to see the spray and they brought out a huge tank of red water that smelled like intense fiery goodness. I’m sure you’re wondering how the strawberries don’t turn out spicy (because that’s the first thing I asked!) Mr. Su said it’s because the spiciness evaporates into the air upon contact. I wasn’t sold, but our strawberries tasted delicious so I didn’t press on.
We were able to try some of their finest strawberries that tasted like the ones my mom used to grow. Topping them with a bit of sweetened condensed milk gave them a slight creaminess but honestly they didn’t need it. The natural flavor was also reminiscent of Tristar strawberries from the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC—exactly what a strawberry should taste like! Strawberry season is between November and mid-April. The best tasting strawberries are harvested from February to March, and they’re open every day from 9am to about 6pm. Be sure to find Mr. and Mrs. Su and tell them I sent you!