Festival highlights kumquat growing craft in central Vietnam

D.THINH |

(QNO) - A kumquat festival took place in Hoi An City in the central province of Quang Nam this weekend, luring an influx of visitors and growers.

The “Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival,” the first of its kind to be organized by the People’s Committee of Hoi An City, opened in Cam Ha Commune on Saturday and closed the same day.

The event drew some hundred growers of the ornamental citrus fruit from around the city, which is home to the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Ancient Town.

A visitor poses alongside a fruit-laden kumquat plant during the Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival on January 16, 2016.
A visitor poses alongside a fruit-laden kumquat plant during the Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival on January 16, 2016.

During the Lunar New Year festival, or Tet, which kicks off on February 8 and lingers one week after that, many Vietnamese families customarily buy fruit-laden kumquat trees, a symbol of prosperity and a pleasing sight, to put around their homes.

The fruits are also candied and enjoyed as a delicacy.

Kumquat, known in Vietnamese as “quat” or “tac,” is one of Hoi An’s specialty plants.

The festival featured 60 tubs of kumquat plants hand-picked from 50,000 ornamental trees grown around the city.

Artisans compete in kumquat shoot grafting amidst cheers from their colleagues and visitors at the Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival on January 16, 2016.
Artisans compete in kumquat shoot grafting amidst cheers from their colleagues and visitors at the Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival on January 16, 2016.

Seasoned artisans also demonstrated their dexterity in different phases of kumquat plant cultivation, including grafting shoots, nurturing and shaping the plants into desired figures, at two competitions during the event.

Visitors also enjoyed sweet tastes of jams and syrups made from the fruit right on the spot.

Some of them purchased kumquat tubs laden with fruits to display around their homes during the forthcoming Tet.

Specialty kumquat sweets are seen prepared during the festival. 
Specialty kumquat sweets are seen prepared during the festival. 

Farmers in Cam Ha Commune, considered the cradle of kumquat plants throughout Hoi An, supply hundreds of such pots to markets in the central and Central Highlands regions each year.

According to Nguyen Hoang, head of the Cam Ha Cooperative, its kumquat village offers for sale approximately 50,000 tubs this year, 90% of which are of medium and large sizes.

Traders have placed orders for 70% of the produce so far, with some tubs valued at VND30 million (US$1,318) apiece.

Delighted farmers take a close look at tubs of luxuriant kumquats displayed at the festival. 
Delighted farmers take a close look at tubs of luxuriant kumquats displayed at the festival. 

Cam Ha kumquats are mostly sold to Danang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Quang Ngai Province and Kon Tum Province in the central region and the Central Highlands respectively, Hoang added.

“The village expects to earn revenues of VND30 billion [US$1.3 million] from this year’s kumquat sale, up some VND4 billion [US$175,747] against last year,” he noted.

Nguyen Van Dung, chair of the Hoi An City People’s Committee, divulged that the Cam Ha-Hoi An Ornamental Kumquat Festival was meant to promote the city’s hallmark fruit, honor the long-standing craft of growing plants and flowers, and encourage local artisans and farmers to keep up their craftsmanship.

The event was also a chance for local farmers to express their gratitude to God and deities for blessing them with auspicious climate and a bumper crop.

D.THINH