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.
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.