rough it on Hoi An farms
got down and dirty in Hoi An on one afternoon recently, digging
fields planted with a special kind of Vietnamese basil and sampling
the fruits of their labour afterwards.
one-day farm excursion, begun by a local tourist agency in 2004,
has become one of Hoi Anís most popularly requested tours.
discovered a lot about Viet Nam doing this," said tourist
Deppe Kohler, who was one of 25 German tourists spending a day
at a farm in Hoi Anís Tra Que village known for its basil
or rau hung farms.
aromatic plant in the mint family is cultivated chiefly for
its leaves and is widely used in Vietnamese cooking.
and the other tourists worked on Mai Nhoís farm, turning over
the land, digging furrows, and then planting seedings.
enjoyed the work although Iíve never worked on a farm before,"
the two hours of planting were over, the group toured the entire
870 sq.m- farm.
basil here is tasty," said tourist Margit Martin, smelling
a leaf. "Supermarkets in Germany sell several kinds of
Vietnamese basil, but they donít have as much flavour as this
to veteran Hoi An farmer Cao Ngoc Day, the village soil, enriched
by alluvium from the local De Vong River, and the traditional
farming technology of Tra Que, help give rau hung its
use neither manure nor chemical fertilisers, but a kind of algae
found only in a lagoon in Tra Que to support plant growth,"
German tourists remarked that farmers could become financially
well-off if Tra Que exported the basil.
the end of the day, tourists were offered special meals seasoned
with Tra Que rau hung.
than 200 households in Tra Que grow rau hung, which is
sold to restaurants and hotels in Hoi An, Da Nang and Ha Noi.
like Nho and Day earn VND3 million (US$200) monthly from rau
hung and another VNd3 million offering other services to
than 800 foreign tourists joined the basil farm tour in 2005,
and 292 have participated since the beginning of this year,
Pham Vu Dung, deputy director of the Hoi An Tourism Company,
said. ó VNS