Winter in Nanjing mostly spells grey, bleak and miserable. However, that’s not counting in days like today; brief pockets of sunny, crisp and inviting outdoor weather. Indeed, it is not all doom and gloom over this nigh-on 4 month period. Tis’ the season for strawberry picking! The delicious, sweet, little red delights are harvested every winter and spring. In Nanjing, strawberries ripen from December right the way through to April.
Not only have nearby farms and villages been producing variations of strawberries for a number of years, but the organic ecological farm experience is becoming a hot business. This has given rise to a number of spots around Nanjing that offer a full farming day out.
Herein, eight areas around Nanjing, courtesy of 360 Library, where you can pick fresh strawberries and enjoy similar country air. It is best to pick strawberries on Wednesdays and Thursdays as too many people flock to the farms at the weekends.
Each location also includes additional information as to address, directions and/or transportation options.
Fujiabian Boutique Strawberry Park (傅家边精品草莓园)
Well known for its large strawberry gardens, this farm is said to regularly produce new varieties each year, such as Zijin Jiuhong and Ningfeng. This park also has a modern agricultural technology centre which houses tropical plants from around the globe.
With its comparatively small population of 4,335, Fujiabian, was in 2012 awarded Most Beautiful Countryside in Jiangsu. In the early 1980s, the village, located in the Yuge Township, was nothing more than a remote impoverished mountain village.
Fujiabian has since invested an average of more than ¥500,000 each year in order to carry out “village clean-up” operations, and in order to improve the lives of villagers, it has reportedly invested nearly ¥700,000 in road construction.
Agricultural production in Fujiabian Village consists mainly of rice, vegetables, organic agriculture, greenhouse strawberries and organic melons. With the addition of the annual Liushui Strawberry Culture Festival and Plum Blossom Festival, Fujiabian Village has become a household name for Nanjingers.
Address: Strawberry Garden, Fujiabian Brigade, Honglan Town (洪蓝镇傅家边大队草莓园-草莓园往里走100米左右)
Tickets: ¥30 in peak season. Free for children under 1.2m; otherwise half price for children over that height.
Transport (private): Airport Expressway – Tianshengqiao Exit – Tianshengqiao Avenue – Wuxiang Mountain – Fujiabian – Qidong Village Strawberry Park (机场高速—天生桥出口下—天生桥大道—无想山—傅家边—涧东村草莓园).
Opening times: 08:00-21:00
Jurong White Rabbit Town (句容白兔镇)
As this town is a good 60km from downtown Nanjing, the soil is said to be most suitable for growing strawberries. Indeed, each household in the village is adept at the growing thereof.
Baitu Town is located in the eastern suburb of the old Maoshan District of Jurong City. It boasts a thousand-year-long history and has a population of 18,000. Local people speak the Wu dialect.
Rural woman from Tangzhuang village can be found planting strawberries and leading the agriculture business, while strawberry and grape associations have been working with large numbers of farmers to alleviate demand.
Politically and economically, Baitu Village has maintained a good momentum of development, with agricultural industrialisation achieving remarkable results. The village boasts the largest production of strawberries and grapes in the country.
While in White Rabbit town, why not check out the tomb of Yan Zhenqing, the great calligrapher of the Tang Dynasty, or the Longshan Lake Golf Course, located southeast of the town? Visitors can also eat fresh local food at the village’s farmhouse restaurants.
Address: Baitu Town, Jurong City (句容市白兔镇)
Transport (public): Take the long distance bus from Nanjing to Jurong and transfer to Baitu Town (乘坐南京—句容的长途大巴，再转到白兔镇).
Transport (private): 沪宁高速—G42—G4011—S122.
Bagua Zhou Ecological Farm; Qixia District (八卦洲生态农庄)
This 200-acre strawberry garden is a hot spot on the strawberry picking trail, located on the sprawling Bagua Zhou that is the islet in the Yangtze River directly to the north of Nanjing. Compared with the bustling urban areas surrounding it, the green vegetation is abundant, while air is fresh and the environment quiet.
The islet’s history can be traced back to the Southern Song Dynasty and by the fifty-first year of Qing Emperor Kangxi, villagers had begun farming in the area. Legend has it that its name came from a story in which the queen of Ming Taizu lost the “Eight Diagrams” jade in the middle of the river; thus the islet was named “Eight Diagrams” or “Bagua” (八卦).
By 1927, Baguazhou had become an urban area of Nanjing with a population of 3,000. Fast forward to May 2012 and the village had settled into an agricultural farming area.
Transport (private): Access Bagua Zhou via the Nanjing No.2 Yangtze River Bridge.
Gaochunxi; Gaochun Slow City (高淳桠溪)
Gaochun Slow City Strawberry Greenhouse is located inside an ecological park, where one can also find bananas and other fruit,as well as fresh juicy strawberries.
Gaochun International Slow City is an 4A tourist attraction, China’s “best” leisure resort and ia among the country’s top ten villages. An agricultural sightseeing hot spot, the village was decreed an International Slow City by the International Slow City Alliance in 2010, becoming the first to receive such a title in China.
With a population of about 20,000; capped at 50,000 in order to be able to maintain its slow pace of life, the area promotes a green lifestyle, while being anti-pollution, anti-noise etc. One will not find any fast-food restaurants or supermarkets in Gaochun Slow City.
Address: Hongqi Lu, Jingtang Village, Qiqiao Town, Gaochun County, Nanjing (南京市高淳县漆桥镇荆塘村红旗路)
Transport (public): Take long distance bus Nanjing-Gaochun, get off at Shuangpaishi, transfer to the 203 bus in Tunxi Town (the body is orange), and get off at the International Slow City Interchange to the International Slow City (长途大巴南京—高淳，转至慢城).
Lingshan Village, Tangshan, Jiangning (汤山街道锁石村)
Due to its geological position northeast of Jiangning District, Tangshan is not just for dipping in the hot springs; it is also known for the purest strawberries that are of the “greatest quality”.
With a population over 70,000 and eight villages, Tangshan became the first of four health springs in China. A 4A scenic spot, its history has been traced back to 600,000 years ago thanks to the recent discovery of two skulls, now known as Nanjing Man (Homo Erectus Nankinensis).
Locals refer to the area as a natural museum, full of limestone, bentonite, purple sand, etc. Known as Tangshui Town during the Qing Dynasty, it became Tangshan in 1934. Tangshan boasts caves, hot springs, mountains and ancient temples, forests and fossils.
Address: 988 Qilin Lock Stone Village, Tangshan (汤山街道麒麟锁石村社区988号)
Transport (public): Best to take the train to Tangshan (乘南汤线（南京火车站—汤山）至锁石下。石门坎五洲家居装饰城乘坐121到达底站锁石生态园).
Opening times: 7:00 – 22:00
Hushu Lake Strawberry Garden, Jiangning (江宁湖熟草莓园)
Neighbouring Jinhu lake, where the air is fresh and the mountains tranquil, locals boast as to the high yield of its strawberries.
Known as “Little Nanjing”, hunting and fishing are popular past times for people who live around the lake. The area is said to be over 3,000 years old; bronze remains were discovered there in the early 1950s. With an ancient array of tombs, dynastic remains and 600-year-old mosques, the lake has a rich culture, and is one of the main settlements of the Islamic Hui people.
Yet, most importantly for strawberry seekers, Hushu is favoured most among eco enthusiasts as not so many people tend to come to this area, leaving the gardens clean and peaceful.
Directions: Near Bianshu Primary School, Sanjie Village, Hushu Town (湖熟镇三界村糊熟小学附近)
Hengxi Sub District, Jiangning (江宁横溪街道)
30km from the centre of Nanjing, but perhaps the most accessible of all the strawberry picking sites herein, Hengxi Sub District sits in a low hilly area that is also famous for its watermelon production. The site utilises three-dimensional strawberry planting, which is much more effective and less harmful to the environment.
Directions: Take metro line 3 to Nanjing South Railway Station and change to S1 to Xiangyu Lu South, then change to bus no. 861 and get off at Hengxi Station (地铁3号线到南京南站转s1到翔宇路南下，转861到横溪站下车).
Pukou Huaqi Village Linzhuang Strawberry Park (浦口花旗村林庄草莓园)
Not far from Laoshan National Park, Huaqi village is simple, ecologically harmonious, rich in natural resources, and has a long history and accompanying culture.
Directions: Take metro line 3 to Taifeng Lu Station and transfer to S8 to Xiongzhou Station. Then transfer to Longpao by taking bus 621. (乘地铁3号线到泰冯路站转s8到雄州站下，换乘621路至龙袍客运站).