Cabbage Season in Beijing

Beijing, 1994:

Mountains of Chinese cabbage — 396 million pounds by the reckoning of the Beijing authorities — began advancing on the capital this month, as one of old Beijing’s agricultural rhythms persists against the onslaught of modern supermarkets and glitzy shopping centers that have sprouted here.

Rough-hewn peasants who have been sleeping with their crops for weeks in a 100-mile arc of farmland outside Beijing have converged for the annual ritual of selling what was once a survival crop for many Chinese.

They come in trucks, horse-drawn carts and pedal-powered three-wheelers, all straining under billowing loads of cabbage that within the space of a week fill acres of sidewalks and alleyway space.”

Not much has changed. The autumn cabbage trade described by the New York Times sixteen years ago lives on today, despite the Wal-Marts and Carrefours that continue to nibble away at China’s market culture.

Last month, the cabbage hawkers were out in full force on Guloudongdajie, one of the trendier streets in the grid of gentrifying hutongs just east of the Drum and Bell Towers. There might be a cabbage shortage in Korea but there was no shortage of supply in Beijing.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Friday December 17 2010at 06:12 am , filed under Asia Pacific, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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