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A strawberry-flavored getaway to Miaoli county's Da Hu

By Lishea Cheng Translated by Sheng Chen

The cold winter is the perfect season for strawberries, which continue to grow in Taiwan until April and the end of spring. Thus, one of the best times to appreciate the taste of strawberries is around the Lantern Festival, so don't miss the annual Da Hu Strawberry Festival in Miaoli County, which allows visitors to enjoy self-picked strawberries.

No matter which direction you're heading towards the Da Hu area from, you're sure to see strawberry farms along the way, especially on Provincial HIghway No. 3 and the route to Tai An hot springs. While strawberries may be sweet and tempting, be sure to check their apperance and, more importantly, the price before entering any farm. The normal price is NT$160 to NT$200 per 600 grams prior to Lantern Festival, and NT$100 to NT$160 afterwards. By spring's end, prices drop further to NT$60.

The roadside farms offer convenience, while farms in the mountains offer great sights and leisure options. Take Provincial Highway No. 3 and, at the 138.6 kilometer marker, switch to Miaoli County Route 130. Continue up to 800 meters above sea level, where "high and cold" ("Gau Leng") strawberries can be found in a climate similar to the berries' native Europe. A gazebo with a splendid view is located at the peak; it is said that Taichung Harbor can be seen from here when the air's clear. For those who enjoy nature, there is a hiking path behind Jyu Yuan (Daisy Grove) Farm and Resort (037-951-522), http://www.130.com.tw) where, in early spring, peach and plum blossoms welcome visitors to a forest spa.

After a day of pleasure, why not consider spending the night here? The above-mentioned Jyu Yuan Farm and Resort has suites and campgrounds that offer self-picked farm fruit free of charge. A children's playground and Hakka cuisine are also available. And, if you take Miaoli County Route 55, you can arrive at Linliping Strawberry Farm (037-995-882), where strawberries and cherry tomatoes are sold from June to September. Dapingding Strawberry Farm (037-990-896), which is 950 meters above sea level, can be reached by Miaoli County Route. 62. Enjoy a traditional tofu dish at Ching An Tofu Street on the way there.

Pick-it-yourself farms first appeared in 1976. With Taiwan's WTO entry, the Da Hu Farmers' Association has established a leisure wine cottage (037-996-736, http://www.dahufarm.org.tw), which is the only place in Asia that makes strawberry wines. This honey-like colored wine is known as "humeilian". The selection of wines also includes "Tau Ran Hiung", a plum wine said to improve one's physical appearance. For ice cream lovers, the cottage has some distinctive flavors like strawberry, strawberry wine, flower-fruit, sunflower and plum wine.

The farmers' association leisure wine cottage aims to blend farm products with our daily lives, by allowing the enjoyment of strawberry-picking activities, strawberry meals, strawberry wine and strawberry wine ice cream. While you're at it, visit the Tai An hot springs for a warm soak and, at night, experience the nature at night at Da Hu's village inns.


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