A Traditional Way of Life – Tra Que Organic Herb Garden, Viet Nam

We are fortunate to have connected with a beautiful, friendly and hospitable farming family at the center of the only commercial and completely organic farm in Vietnam.

The family has absorbed us into the gentle flow of their lives.  The house where they live belongs to Tho and Day, a couple in their forties. They have four nieces who run the restaurant and tours of the gardens.

Tho and Day work the fields in the early morning and afternoon when its cooler and take their product to market. Together they also provide child care daily, for their adorable first grandson Duong, who is almost two.

We spend time in the fields in the early morning or afternoon learning about the organic greens. They grow 3 types of basil, watercress, lettuce, morning glory, coriander, mint, chives, spring onions, bok choy, chinese cabbage and mustard leaf.

The greens are taken to market in Hoi An daily (cut at four a.m, and sold to a market vendor by six for the early market rush) and nearby Da Nang, as well as are used in the restaurant and at home.

The family restaurant behind the greens, where food is served and cooking lessons held.
Learning how to water the greens the traditional Vietnamese way. Takes a certain rhythm.
Ben’s got it! It also entails literally going into the water “tub” to fill the cans.
Working in the gardens and learning from Tho, the head matriarch. Tho is very funny! She has no English but communicates masterfully with a variety of sounds and gestures. She also insists that we sing Vietnamese songs while weeding and cutting herbs.
Cutting the bok choy, weighing it and making 1 kilo bundles ready for market next morning.
Tho cuts greens every afternoon and early morning (4 a.m.) to take to market for sale.

 

This is the front of the family’s house. It has a little temple/shrine to the right. The houses of the herb garden community, create a perimeter around the central “shared” gardens, creating a shielded farmland of greens.
Sitting in front of the house taking a break
Ben doing evening “shots’ of sake- like rice wine… made by Day, the farmer and his brother.
Looking into the dining room, behind the bamboo playpen for the grandchild.
Little Duong getting his daily bath in the kitchen from his grandma. Both grandparents rotate childcare for their grandchild with working in the fields. The daughter brings the child every day and then heads off to work.
Without language, singing and playing the piano is a great way to connect!
Grandfathers take an active role in child care. Day is a very gentle, intuitive grandparent who spends a lot of time with his grandchild, sometimes lying down to nap with him and walking him while holding him the whole time. Duong is the future of organic farming in Tra Que and will continue the family tradition into the 21st century.
Cutting our salad for lunch… from field to belly in minutes. Live food indeed!
Crushing the fresh turmeric and chili into a paste

The senior matriarch of the family often helps to “fan” the baby while he naps, or sometimes naps with him. Note the Vietnamese bed, which is a straw mat on a wooden platform. (No mattress used.)

River system and rice paddies surrounding the organic herb farm. These rivers are used for shrimp farming and to get the river seaweed for compost in the gardens.



System of paths and walkways through the rivers. Farming houses in the background.
Meticulous rows of green. Here you see watercress to the right and lemon basil to the left.
Tra Que Sisters



 

7 thoughts on “A Traditional Way of Life – Tra Que Organic Herb Garden, Viet Nam

  1. Kris

    Little Duong is just too cute! The farm and family look so nice… what a great way to learn about organic farming. While I’m in middle of finding a place in the city, I almost wanna pack again and leave 😉

  2. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

    It has been an incredible experience and so much fun at the same time.

    Terrific “home stay”

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Pingback: Slipping comfortably into life in Hoi An, Viet Nam – Empty Nesters on a Green Global Trek

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *