The only landlocked county in Taiwan, Nantou is home to a diverse terrain.
83% of the total area of Nantou is covered in hills and mountains, with 41 mountains over 3000 meters in height including the most famous mountain in Taiwan – Mount Jade.
Residents of Nantou make great use of the natural resources all around them; they grow produce and other specialties in and amongst the hilly terrain.
As a result, with sufficient rain and a suitable climate, Xinyi township is famous for its juicy fruit produce, especially during summer and autumn – and Nantou is one of the reasons Taiwan is now known as the kingdom of fruit – capable of producing rich and diverse fruit year round.
In this article, I will introduce a trio of different fruit from Xinyi, an indigenous mountain township in Nantou – the majority harvested manually!
The main crop on the slopes of Nantou County is the plum.
Nantou County’s plum production ranks number one the country, with a cultivation area of 4,367 hectares and annual production of 20,000 tons.
And from this total, Xinyi Town Farmers Association is first and foremost in investing in plum products.
In heading to Xinyi township visitors will pass by plum DreamWorks Factory, site of a multitude of of plum products, including plum essence, plum vinegar and more.
The factory has also become a tourist hot spot for those who like to try plum wine!
This fruit wine (pictured) with sweet and sour flavors matches any and all kinds of food!
In addition to the plum wine the facility also offers shopping, dining and rest services alongside recreational facilities such as cultural and tourist information, agricultural learning experiences, and industry guides.
The factory also works with local aboriginal cultures to promote healthy and tasty souvenirs; a place you don’t want to miss if nearby!
plum DreamWorks Factory
Address: No. 11, Xinkai Alley, Xinyi Township, Nantou County
Deemed a “highly economic (and) effective fruit” in Taiwan, there are three peak growing seasons for grapes between June and January.
The difference between grapes grown in the hills and on flat terrain can be seen in the texture!
Grapes from the hills can be sweet, but can also taste a little sour. The palate has layers of flavour detectors, capable of picking up fine tannins and acid structures which enable us to taste the sweet, delicious taste of Taiwan grapes!
Climate is of course one of the essential elements in growing juicy grapes, and the temperature varies a lot over the course of a day in the hills of Xinyi.
In the day time the grapes absorb nutrition, but because of the low temperatures at night, grapes effectively store the nutrition leaving the texture of the pulp firm but juicy with its bright vivid bright color!
You can find lots of manual harvesting gardens around Xinyi township if you want to pick your own, but if you do not want to be stuck in the farm yourself, call the owner and they will send you a box of fresh grapes.
Pro-tip: with afternoon thundershowers common in the area, try to arrange picking in the morning to make the most of your fruit picking journey!
Address: No. 5-1, Section 3, Shuixin Road, Shang’an Village, Shuili Township, Nantou County
Located in the foothills of Mount Jade, wax apples from Xinyi township are pure and pollution free.
And, in similar form to grapes, with different temperatures of day and night affecting taste, wax apples are another emerging specialty in recent years!
Because of local weather featuring gentle breezes, and the perfect amount of rain, wax apples this year are the best quality they ever have been.
The soil conditions at high altitudes, as well as the exquisite cultivation techniques and personal care of the fruit growers, have combined to create the large, bright red appearance enveloping the alpine lotus mist inside the thick, full flesh.
Unfortunately over the past few years, typhoon damage has led to losses of about thirty percent of the farm’s produce!
One of the most famous manually harvested farms in Xinyi township is “Ming’s Wax Apple”.
As you walk into the shop, you will see owners dealing and surrounded by wax apples, and many tourists come here because of the reputation, so be sure you visit the shop as early as possible!
Pro-tip: (from the owner), the key in picking a tasty wax apple lies in the bottom of the fruit. The darker the bottom the sweeter it will be,.
Another tip is to pick it up and weigh it – the heavier it is, the more sugar it contains!
Ming’s wax apple
Address: No. 153, Tou 60 Township Road, Xinyi Township, Nantou County