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Scent of success (2)

(China Daily)

09:23, May 23, 2012

Planting roses is a recent industry by comparison. About 30 years ago, families working and staying at the Kunming Steel Plant in Bajie decided to plant roses to beautify the stark environment.

They discovered that the native species they had planted were intensely aromatic and had thick petals that were ideal for eating.

They started experimenting, and soon, petals were picked before the Mid-Autumn Festival to be used as filling for traditional moon cakes. That was just the start.

A Taiwan chef started experimenting with the roses and made them into a filling for a flaky pastry.

Paired with some smart marketing moves, the little fragrant pies soon became popular as souvenirs from Kunming, which is, after all, known as the City of Spring, and known for its flower exports.

The roses soon became a lucrative cash crop as local farmers found a growing demand from the food processing industry. Now, the annual harvest comes from nearly 2,400 mu or about 1,600 hectares.

Other factors helped the rise of rose cultivation. One was the growing numbers of young people leaving the farms for the bright city lights.

With the loss of the able-bodied, older farmers left on the land had to choose less labor-intensive crops. Roses were ideal in that sense.

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