Life in Korea – farming anyone?

Our family farm in Korea

Our family farm in Korea

Here’s another reason why I have not been able to blog more often..suddenly I’m now helping my family take care of this farm in Korea.

Great River Farm… that’s the name of the farm that our family has owned for over 40 years. My dad had a full time job in the government but running this farm was his passion in the hopes of retiring someday and living on this farm. Unfortunately, he passed away before this became a reality. So my mom has been managing the farm so far on her own for the last 20+ years but now that I’m here, I offered to help her out because I just love being there. I love how the air smells, how green everything is and how every time you look around, something is different – flowers bloom and fade and fruits appear and grow.

Just as my mom said, I guess it’s in the genes. My grand father owned a huge farm in North Korea before the war. My dad rode horses to get around to inspect the farm because it just took too long to walk from one end to the other. Anyway, so I guess the farming and the horse genes got passed down me? Too bad I can’t ride horses here.. :)

When I was young, my dream was to own a farm and ride horses. Now my dream has changed somewhat and become more specific – to own an organic farm in the US somewhere, grow Korean fruits and vegetables and share them with people, along with Korean food recipes. It’s only been about 3 months since I started working but I now have so much more respect for farmers. The incredible amount of work they have to do and how vigilant they have to be about everything – it’s simply amazing.

So, what do we have in the farm? We have quite a big orchard of Korean Shingo pears, fuji apples and peaches.

Korean Pear (Shingo) orchard

Korean Pear (Shingo) orchard

We also have several Maesil (매실) trees which I just harvested to make some Maesil syrup. Maesil (Japanese apricot plum or Chinese plum) are in full season and people buying them from stores to make syrup at home.

Chinese Plum or Japanese apricot plum tree

Chinese Plum or Japanese apricot plum tree

I will be posting the recipe for that very soon because I made a batch myself.

In addition, we wanted to grow some vegetables to make more profit this year. Colored potatoes (blue, red, red skinned)

are the latest thing in Korea as well as US, so with the help from the local farming organization, we decided to plant and grow these  potatoes using no pesticides and no herbicides. But I can’t say it’s fully organic yet since the land has to be chemical free for few years before it is officially certified organic.

I know potato is not your unique Korean vegetable but it’s supposed to be one of the easiest crops to grow, so with the advice from the local farmers, I decided to start easy.

If you search on the internet, you will find that these purple and red potatoes have great health benefits. They have large amount of antioxidants and is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, lowers blood pressure and helps with obesity. So, if you can get these potatoes where you live, you should definitely give these a try!

We hope to harvest them in late July. Hopefully we can sell them all – so wish me luck!!

Field of colored potatoes

Field of colored potatoes

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10 thoughts on “Life in Korea – farming anyone?

  1. sl June 22, 2013 at 7:34 am Reply

    Dearest Jinjoo..great reading.

    You really turn out so well from your family roots…
    I’m very sure that your family is very proud of you for what you have learnt and carry your family roots so well and has been great for me to be able to learn from you all those cooking tips from your blog.

    Great job.

    • JinJoo June 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm Reply

      You are too kind..thank you.

  2. Natalie June 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm Reply

    Hi, I am actually looking to buy those three types of potatoes you mentioned above. When do you think they will become available and for purchase? Or do you know anywhere else I can buy all 3 types of potatoes. Thanks!

    • JinJoo June 24, 2013 at 3:27 am Reply

      Hi! I guess you live in Korea now? We plant to harvest sometime in late July. And I would be happy to ship them to you if you want. Please let me know! Thanks for stopping by!

      • d'liteful cravings June 25, 2013 at 1:06 am

        Hi JinJoo! Yup, I’m in Korea/Seoul atm and would love to have some of your crops! Where is your farm anyway? I’d love to try your fruits (all of them!) and whatever else you have on your farm. Let me know when you’d be able to send me some! :) Do you have a private email address that we can keep in contact? Or would you prefer another way?

      • JinJoo June 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

        Hi! My farm is in Icheon. We are expecting to harvest the potatoes late July so will definitely let you know when it’s ready! I have peaches, apples, pears and also a little bit of cherry tomatoes (the seeds are from US) so hopefully they will be more sweet and tender than the Korean variety. I have also grown arugula and basil which are now kind of out grown..Oh and my email address is if you want to keep in contact that way. Thanks so much!!

  3. juniordo June 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm Reply

    For years I have been looking for authentic great Korean recipes in English, so I don’t have to call my mom every time I want to cook something I miss from her kitchen. Thank you for creating your blog!! It’s perfect. Good luck with your farming. It looks absolutely beautiful! I think it’s amazing that you are there working with your mom to take on your fathers legacy :) May every season and crop be bountiful and delicious!!

    • JinJoo July 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

      Thank you for your lovely and encouraging comments! I hope my recipes are almost as good as your mom’s – please let me know if you have any questions or if your mom does things differently. I would love to hear about it! Enjoy~

  4. […] in June, in my Life in Korea – Farming Anyone? post, I wrote that I was planting colored potatoes in my farm. Well..we harvested them in late […]

  5. […] are finally happening for me here. Thanks to my sister #3′s generosity, my dream #2 (#1 was farming) of having my own cooking studio has become a reality much much sooner than I thought it would. It […]

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