Yilan Leisure Track and Field (2) Datung – Yulan

Written and photographed by Hsieh Li Chung

  Sansing and Datung areas, on the western side of the mountain on the Lanyang Plain, produce admiral pears, silver willows and Yulan tea. They also hold the Tea Festival and the Onion and Garlic Festival. These events have helped to promote the seasonal products of the area. Most of all, Yulan Village and Sonro of Datung are noted for their tea, and are inhabited by many Hakkas who moved from the western side of the island.

  The agricultural promotion and counseling of Sansing and Datong Village are conducted mainly by the Sansing area farming cooperative. Products cultivated in the area as admiral pear, tangerine, and orange of various species, and horticultural flowers, and silver willow of Sansing area are of the major agricultural products, and the silver willow will be transliterated as “Silver” (in Taiwanese before and after Chinese New Year).

  Rice remains the major crop in Sansing area, and most special of all, farmers would employ conventional cultivation so as to raise ducks in the crop filed, and ducks won’t spoil the field but help to pick and eat insects and weeds in the filed. Thus, duck raising not only saves food for them but also fertilizer cost as the excrement of duck is used on the field. This is what we call “cooperative-duck rice,” which takes well balance of both environmental protection and ecology. The importance of health has also been considered in raising chickens at the fruit garden and mountainous area without injecting any medication. Thus “organic chickens” with delicious meat are found there.

  As for tea production, it is found mainly at the Yulan Village and Sonro Village of Datong, while types of tea are as Chin-Hsin Wulong, Pauchong, Chinhsen, and Hsueiyu, rendering the famous reputation of “Yulan Tea”. In addition, “Mother Tien” tea lunch and tea-smoked egg have also become popular and received much praise. The inhabitants of Yulan Village are mainly Taiya aborigines, Hakka, Fukienese, and mainlanders, while its meandering geographical slope is clustered with habitation alongside the simple and graceful motorway to the top of the tea-growing hill area. In the spring, blooming Sakura flowers are found all the way, and there are tables under parasol for one to have tea as well as a sight-seeing pavilion to look out the vast Lanyang riverbed and the continuous mountain range. It is definitely a perfect place to view the sight and experience all kinds of agricultural activities.

  • Experience tea-making
    Making use of the time after harvest, there are specialized personnel to take visitors to pick tea leaves and to drink tea. In addition, visitors could also learn how to make various tea snacks and other products. Surely, visitors can take their self-made products home, or they can choose to try out a tea meal and stay over at the wonderful tea-making village.
  • Lei-tea and pounded glutinous rice
    Lei tea of Hakka has become very popular lately, and this activity would help visitors to appreciate how the tea was first developed and make and taste their own tea. Besides, the Hakka glutinous rice is different in flavor from that of the Taiwanese variety, and since one can pound and scrub tea on one’s own, one can truly taste the genuine flavor of Hakka delicacies.
  • Production of tea-smoked eggs
    Students of the home economics class in the Yulan tea area make use of the quality tea as a class subject and have created golden white and tea-smoked eggs. Through the DIY class, visitors learn the little secrets of making such eggs rich yellow and crystal white, and the products made can be carried home as gifts or for themselves.
  • Production of tea jelly
    Tea-flavored jelly is the most welcome snack after meals. The cooperative will also teach visitors how to make such jelly, and visitors could also bring 36 pieces of jelly back.
  • Creative DIY tea-stem pencil
    In Nantou, people use plum blossom stems to make pencils, while people in Yulan area use tea tree stems to make pencils. Besides using tea tree stems, tea farmers have also used dry hay or grass to work with the stem so as to create their unique tea-stem pencil.
  • Tea game
    Use tea to play games and identify various types of tea. Different types of tea can be soaked in hot water, and cups placed in a row for people to tell the difference between each kind of tea.
  • To reach Datung, Yulan and Loudong, you can take the provincial highway No. 7 C.