Greenhouse vegetables to solve North Korea’s food situation?

North Korea is making an effort to overcome its food shortages by expanding its greenhouse-based vegetable and fruit production industry, Daily NK sources recently reported.

Haeju strawberries, for example, once regarded as a specialty of that area, are now grown throughout the country, in greenhouses. North Koreans no longer need to make huge batches of kimchi to get through the winter; now they can just purchase greenhouse-grown Napa cabbage, Korean radish, cucumber, eggplant and more in local markets all-year-round.

Daily NK sources recently reported however, that of the many vegetables cultivated in greenhouses, garlic chives are one of the most popular. “Garlic chives grown in Pyongsong, Pyongyang, and Yangdok County are popular in the markets,” a Pyongyang-based source recently stated. “North Koreans have a lot of dumplings to celebrate the new year, the Great Full Moon [first full moon of the lunar new year] and Kim Jong Il’s birthday [Jan. 8]. Dumplings taste so much better with garlic chives in them.”

Garlic chives are generally planted in the spring and harvested in the fall, but now North Koreans have access to fresh greenhouse-grown garlic chives in the winter.

“Last season we cultivated pucho in the open air, but now we just cultivate them inside the greenhouses, regardless of the season,” one source told Daily NK. “They’re nutritious and fragrant so a lot of North Koreans enjoy them in their winter dishes.”

North Korea’s government appears intent to extol the benefits of garlic chives. A North Korean document acquired by Daily NK last year remarked: “Pucho is a perennial green in the garlic family, nutritionally dense and with a unique scent and flavor. It protects against cerebral hemorrhage and the hardening of the arteries, and is effective in preventing as well as treating bronchitis, neurasthenia, hemorrhage and skin infections. It is particularly effective in protecting and improving one’s health.”


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