The 'crystal sugar jujubes from the western region' from the Yanqi basin in Xinjiang had already entered the Chinese market half a month ago. The weather conditions were excellent this year and the production volume is huge.
The product quality is great as well. The price increased by nearly 35% compared to the same period last year. Mr. He Zhiguang is a spokesperson for the specialized winter jujube plantation cooperation, Hejing Hundred Fruit Orchard. He recently talked about current conditions in the production areas of 'crystal sugar jujubes from the western region' as well as market trends.
"Our plantation is located in the Yanqi basin in Xinjiang. We take advantage of the natural conditions in the basin to grow crystal sugar jujubes. The basin is arid and there is very little rainfall. In addition, the difference between temperatures during the day and the night is big. The area is frost free all year long, and receives plentiful sunshine.
"We irrigate our plantation with meltwater from the glaciers and snowfall on the Tianshan mountain range. These conditions make this area an excellent location for the production of jujubes. There is a saying in the market, which is that 'the best jujubes come from Xinjiang, and the best Xinjiang jujubes come from the Yanqi basin.'
"The fruit flesh of our jujubes is rich and the fruit peel is thin. The fruit is crisp and the sugar content is high. The flavor is particularly sweet and the structure is brittle like crystal sugar, hence the name. And because Xinjiang was known in the ancient past as 'the western region', we have adopted the name 'crystal sugar jujubes from the western region'."
Mr. He also talked about production conditions. "The annual peak period of winter jujube sales falls between the 20th of July and the 10th of October. This year the weather was quite warm and the production season was delayed by more than 20 days. The fruit only entered the market in large volumes around the 10th of August. However, the product quality of our jujubes did not suffer from changes in weather conditions because we grow our jujubes in greenhouses. The sugar content of our jujubes is stable around 28%-30%. The fruit peel is glossy. And the size is within normal margins."
Hejing Hundred Fruit Orchard expects to harvest 300 tons of winter jujubes this season. The first jujubes already entered the market half a month ago. "This week the wholesale price in production areas is around 40 yuan [6.20 USD] per 0.5 kg. The market retail price is around 80 yuan [12.40 USD] per 0.5 kg. That is 10 yuan [1.55 USD] per 0.5 kg more than around this time last year. The price recovered in part because the pandemic is more under control now compared to a year ago, but another reason is that our brand name is growing stronger. We are more widely recognized and more people order our jujubes."
"Express delivery from Xinjiang to other parts of China was temporarily interrupted because of the outbreak of Covid-19, but local authorities worked together to quickly restore express delivery. We use air freight to make sure the jujubes are as fresh as possible. Most of our products reach customers in first- and second-tier cities within 2-3 days."
The Hejing Hundred Fruit Orchard plantation is around 67 hectares. When asked about the unique characteristics of the plantation, Mr. He replied: "First, the natural environment, location, and weather conditions are all excellent in Xinjiang. These conditions are very suitable for the plantation of winter jujubes. Jujube trees require long hours of sunlight and a big difference in temperatures during the day and night to accumulate sugar in their fruit and produce a glossy fruit peel. That is why our jujubes have a high sugar content and glossy fruit peel.
"In addition, the fragrance is sweet, nutrients are abundant, and the flavor is excellent. Second, we use greenhouse constructions throughout the season, unlike most winter jujube plantations in Xinjiang. Although the cost is higher, so is the product quality and flavor. We are able to better guarantee the quality of our jujubes and so build our reputation in the market. On top of that, we also implement strict plantation management and use organic fertilizer. We do not use agricultural chemicals in our plantation. That is why the Chinese Green Food Development Center awarded our jujubes with organic certification in 2018.
"Another unique aspect of our plantation is that we sprinkle milk on the jujubes. We sprinkle them 3-4 times when the jujubes are almost ripe. In this way the fruit gains a milky flavor, which is very unique."
Mr. He established the specialized cooperation for the plantation of 'crystal sugar jujubes from the western region' in April of 2015. In the decade between 2011 and 2020, the overall surface area of the plantation expanded from 0.4 hectare to 45 hectares and the number of employees increased from 3 to 69.
The Hejing Hundred Fruit Orchard will participate in the (delayed) Shanghai International Fruit Expo on 8-10 October. When asked about their participation in the expo, Mr. He explained: "The exposition takes place during the peak period of the jujube season, so we will bring samples of our products. We hope to familiarize the participants of the expo with the unique flavor of 'crystal sugar jujubes from the western region'. We also hope to connect with high-end fruit market traders, so that we can expand our retail channels."
For more information:
Mr. He Zhiguang
Hejing Hundred Fruit Orchard
Tel.: +86 17691485868
Tel.: +86 18196462008