The Kong Project: Harvest Day

In MY ARTICLES, My Farming Experiences, The Kong Project by James3 Comments

This past Sunday, (Oct. 18th) Kong Project members met at Hansol Farm in Namyangju to embark on one of farming’s most rewarding activities – the harvest. We planted the soy seedlings back on June 7th and for four and a half months we weeded and pruned (with a lot of help from Hansol farm workers when we were not there) and finally our plants were ready for harvest. The actual harvesting process for soy beans is quite simple – pull the entire plant up from the soil, shake off the soil clinging to the roots, and then stack the plants in an upright position to begin the drying process. Working at a comfortable pace we knocked the harvest out in about three and a half hours. The plants will stay where they are and dry for the next two weeks. The next time we come we’ll shell and collect the soy beans. After that we’ll be ready to make meju – the key ingredient for soy sauce and paste. More on that next time…

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Before We Started Harvesting

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Laying Down the Tarp

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Golden and Ready for harvest

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Jordan getting things done

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Nick doing what he does

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Ju Young lending a hand

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Proper drying position for the plants

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Starting a new row is the most difficult part

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Kate and Lucas making rows

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Wheelbarrow race

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Andrew harvesting like a boss

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The final stacking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the harvest it was time for lunch so we headed to our favorite Namyangju family run restaurant Jonggajip. After a predictably delicious lunch we looked at the restaurant’s own ganjang and deonjang pots they keep outside the restaurant. Not only does the restaurant grow many of their own vegetables, but they make and use their own ganjang and deonjang. They have quite the collection, and a few of us Kong members bought a kilo of their seven-year old deonjang for 15,000 won – not bad for such high quality deonjang, and they threw in some free cheongukjang as well! The older the deonjang the darker and more complex the flavor becomes – their deonjang jiggae is the best I’ve had in all my years in Korea.

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Ganjang / Deonjang pots outside restaurant

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Owner scooping us some 7 year olddeonjang

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This lady knows jang

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished our day by visiting Jang Myung Hee from Gogae Neo Meo (Over the Hill Farm). I first came across her in an article I found online written by a Japanese researcher who was writing about Korean traditional ganjang and deonjang. I was surprised and happy to see she was farming close to Hansol Farm so after contacting her and telling her about our project she agreed to let us stop by and see her farm and ask her some questions. She keeps most of her ganjang pots at her home, so we were only able to see 30% of what she has, but she let us sample an 8-year-old ganjang (soy sauce) and a two-year old deonjang and both were fantastic. In addition she mixed a nice salad consisting of beet greens and for a dressing she used the 8-year-old ganjang with red pepper powder, garlic, and green onion. When you add ganjang to the leaves is draws the water out and shrinks the mass – the leached water is mixed with the ganjang and other ingredients and coats the leaves acting as a dressing. The salad was not mild, it had flavor, a strong bitter and spicy finish – I quite liked it. In addition to the salad Ms. Jang gave us some nice tea and a sweet rice snack she made herself called kanjeong. She answered all of our questions about the ganjang and deonjang making process and gave us a few tips as well. When we departed she gave us all a gift, a large bag of her homemade sweet rice snack (kanjeong). Ms. Jang did all of this for us for free, she was just happy that we shared an interest in one of her passions. If you’re interested in visiting her farm or buying her products you can find out more about her via her website. Thank you Jang Myung Hee! The next article update about the Kong Project should come in a few weeks as we’ll be venturing back out to the farm to shell and collect the beans from the dried plants soon.

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Jang Myung Hee

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30 percent of her pots

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Some of Ms. JangsGanjang

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Spicy ganjang salad

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Tea and rice kanjeong

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Thank You Ms. Jang!

Comments

  1. Addye Thole

    Great article !! Loved the step by step process pics and the information about the process as well. It was good to see Mr. Kim, Anna & you at the Hansol Farm again and with all of the Kong Project workers as well. Enjoyed it so much!! Thanks!!!

  2. Pingback: Shelling Day : The Kong Project | I Wanna Farm

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