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Homestay with agritech to harvest fresh durian

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Homestay with agritech to harvest fresh durian

Despite being born to a durian farmer in 1961, Chang Teik Seng, popularly known as Durian Seng, never got to taste durian until his father passed away.

Durian Seng’s son Chang Zhi Vooi told the Vulcan Post: “My grandfather was very strict with his children, he would not allow them to eat a single durian because he needed to sell all the durian for money.”

These Durians came from their farm called Bao Sheng Durian Farm (宝盛 园), which translates to “abundance of treasures”. The Durians served at this farm are said to have a certain uniqueness. When consumed within 30 minutes of falling from the tree, they give off a “numbing” taste, which Zhi Vooi describes as a sizzling and gassing sensation on the tongue.

However, the main challenge was catching the durians in this short period of time, so the family did it with the help of 5G, but more on that later.

Hitting the ground

Agricultural processes have changed dramatically since the farm’s inception in 1959. When it started 62 years ago in Penang, its main objective was to breed and sell different varieties of Durians. Back then, production and yield were key, so chemical fertilizers and pesticides were used.

After moving to Durian Seng in the 1990s, chemicals were completely replaced in favor of organic farming methods. He also found that older trees tend to give off more complex and deep flavors that weren’t just the one-dimensional sweet or sour that the younger counterparts had.

A cozy villa for a durian feast / Image credit: Bao Sheng Durian Farm

With that, Durian Seng realized that tasting durians was an experience to enjoy rather than just another product to get money from. Therefore, Bao Sheng Durian Farm’s goal shifted from wholesaling to sharing the taste of Durians with fruit lovers.

In 2007, a villa was built on the 6.7-acre land as a vacation spot for visitors to sample the fresh durians, along with their “numbing” feeling emitted within that 30-minute window.

Old farm with new tricks.

This numbness was discovered when Durian Seng and his wife tripped over a fully mature durian that had fallen and struck a rock from an old tree.

“Then we realized that having a very fresh durian can make it taste numb. Slowly, we also discovered that older, healthier trees with better soil and environment produce a higher percentage of getting this numbing taste, ”Zhi Vooi recounted.

Chubby Durian from the Farm / Image Credit: Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Learning the ins and outs of durian farming in his teens, Zhi Vooi switched Bao Sheng’s organic farming methods to biodynamic farming in 2017. Biodynamic farming is an advanced method of organic farming in which no artificial fertilizers or sprays are used. chemicals.

The plant is seen in its general context. The soil, the water in the soil and the atmosphere, the surrounding light and temperature, and the cosmos (sun, moon, planets, and stars) are considered. These factors are consciously balanced, allowing the plant to grow to its full potential in health and vitality, resulting in the most beautiful, tasty and healthy food.

Chang Zhi Vooi, third-generation owner of Bao Sheng Durian Farm.

However, if a duration was not found within 30 minutes of the crash, all of this effort will simply be wasted. In 2020, fishing nets were set up to catch the downed durians and 5G-enabled so that the Chang family could be notified where that durian was located on the farm.

Zhi Vooi clarified that this technology mainly helps them to save time, since before they were looking for an autumnal durian of all possible trees.

The weight detected in the fishing nets will trigger a notification for farmers / Image credit: Maxis

“Sensors are placed along each durian web, allowing them to detect changes in the tension and weight of the web when a fruit falls. An alert is then immediately sent to Mr. Chang’s phone, detailing the location of the fruit, ”explained Claire Featherstone, a member of the Maxis team who helped install the technology now called Durian Sense.

The technology uses massive 5G Machine Type Communications (mMTC) components to help provide real-time information on collection needs. Its sensors have the ability to monitor durian crops based on their time and location.

When Durians recover from the net, they hit each other to mimic the impact of the fall, triggering a chemical reaction in their flesh that contributes to the sensation of numbness. Only then are the fruits opened for guests to enjoy.

An abundance of Durians

As Bao Sheng Durian Farm is also a tourist attraction, his team had to rotate to sell durians directly to clients and intermediaries while their villas were closed during closings. Customers can order directly from the Penang farm or purchase the durians in vacuum sealed packages from the organic shop partners.

When MCO stopped visits to the farm, they sold durians in packaged portions / Image Credit: Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Because the sleepy durians cannot survive the trip, Zhi Vooi said that the Chang family have been enjoying them all to themselves without guests.

“Also, we can focus more on agriculture and now we have time to observe the health of our farm during the durian season. Before the MCO, we were quite busy serving guests with no time to sit under the trees to reflect, walk around and work on the farm, ”he explained.

This free time helps the family focus on growing the business while improving their farming practices. They also plan to expand their farmland to share the current generation’s knowledge of durian farming and to accommodate more guests to experience the flavors of durian.

  • You can get more information about Bao Sheng Durian Farm here.
  • You can read about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Chang Teik Seng, Owner of Bao Sheng Durian Farm

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