Apart from trekking the forest on elephants, we definitely enjoyed the fresh, cool air of Mondulkiri and its abundance in different types of vegetations. Most common type of farming was tapioca plantation but we met a few people experimenting different types of fruits and vegetables that don’t normally grow in Cambodia.
We met two Korean farmers living in Mondulkiri who are experimenting with strawberries from Korea. Now, I’m not really sure how I feel about this whole thing – just because I am all about sustaining and preserving what’s natural and cultural etc. Don’t get me wrong, I completely am up for development, trying out new things and all that jazz – after all, that’s normal and that’s how things have developed in the past, right? However, the sound of having strawberries grown and sold in Cambodia – produced in Cambodia – sounds way too foreign to me. I know that they are grown in parts of Vietnam.. they have the right climate to do so. I remember buying strawberries at this shop/cafe called Nature Gardens on st.51 back in the day (now they’re gone). I didn’t complain – I loved Cambodian fruits (you know, the usual Southeast Asian fruits like durian, coconut, pineapple, jackfruit, dragon fruit – list goes on) but having access to something that doesn’t ‘belong’ in Cambodia was just as awesome!
Part of me is unsure because I’m not sure how safe it is to mix nature from one to another – I mean… if strawberries were meant to grow in Cambodia, like in Mondulkiri, wouldn’t they have grown naturally? Like they did in Korea, China and Vietnam? Isn’t that why there’s airport security telling you not to bring live plants and animals to other countries – because it’s unsafe and detrimental? I don’t know! (Keep in mind, there is no such thing as airport security and quarantine in the airports here. My dad had brought some interesting stuff back from Korea without airport security ever bothering to even stop him to check).
I’m still a little uncomfortable about the idea especially because I don’t know how I feel about it but hey, experimenting, trying new things, bringing new ideas is part of being human – right? What do you guys think? Let me know, I’m really curious!
Any how, back to my point of being in Mondulkiri and at a farm. It was beautiful. The older I get, the more I appreciate green and nature .. and just being out there in the environment. I also think it has to do with the fact that I am away in Boston and I have very limited access to sceneries and atmosphere like this. Where in Boston would I be able to just hop on a bus and travel to see manual farms? It’s rare! We had a great time (the guy whose farm we went to had 4 adorable dogs and that definitely added to the joy).
If you go to Mondulkiri, make sure to check out some farms and plants and see what cool stuff is growing out there that you wouldn’t normally see in other countries or even other provinces of Cambodia – the climate really makes a huge difference! If you want to visit the farm I went to, feel free to contact me and I can definitely hook you up with the guy who showed us around – he is awesome!