For a feel of rural life
Updated: 2011-05-21 07:54
By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Visitors can join in picking blueberries in Shangzhuang. Ye Jun / China Daily
City-dwellers looking to escape the concrete jungle for a weekend of fun on the farm will do well to head to Shangzhuang township, in Beijing's northwest.
Located near the Shangzhuang reservoir, about an hour's drive from downtown, the township's many farms are now being thrown open to tourists.
At Shangzhuang Holiday Village, for example, visitors can partake in fruit and vegetable picking, have a go at fishing and indulge in local foods.
According to Lu Hongwei from a local tourism group, the resort has both European and Chinese-style houses.
While strawberries are nearing the end of their season in May, a palm-sized, very sweet watermelon is the fruit to look for now. This is also the time for blueberries, mulberries, cherries and fresh baby cucumbers.
The watermelon costs 10 yuan ($1.54) for 500 grams, while it's 80 yuan for the same amount of cherries, and 200 yuan for blueberries. The fruit-picking season will last the whole summer.
It's not only fruits and veggies that are ready for picking, though. At Qianzhang village's "mushroom island", visitors can enjoy gathering mushrooms.
Dining in Shangzhuang is a rare experience as the signature dishes offered by some restaurants here are not likely to be found elsewhere, such as the mushroom feast by Shangzhuang Mushroom Garden, and the "bean curd banquet" by Shuangta Picking Garden.
For those wanting to get their hands dirty and experience farm work, small plots of land can be rented to plant vegetables and fruits.
A 50-square-meter piece of land costs 1,380 yuan a year, according to representatives from Beijing Sanyuan Agriculture Ltd, which is offering rental service in Shangzhuang.
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