The Crayfish Day: More Than a Feast
On June 9, 2017, the opening day of the 8th International Crayfish Festival in Qianjiang City, Hubei Province, culminated in the announcement of the beginning of this crayfish-themed carnival by head of local government. In order to help foreign students to make more senses of Hubei agriculture and aquaculture, Special Focus and Huazhong Agricultural University jointly organized a special trip for over 30 international students from the university to the crayfish capital. Let them see in person how a fresh water creature like crayfish can become a supporting industry in an industrial city like Qianjiang, what the government does to serve the development of the crayfish industry, as well as how big companies play their roles in enhancing the business actively.
Qianjiang City, 170 kilometers away from Wuhan, is known for its crayfish industry. It is said that the best crayfish of the world is produced here, and almost one fourth of European crayfish are imported from this city, while countries across other continents also taste the best dish produced by Qianjiang. This is why Qianjiang is honored as the Capital of Crayfish.
On the special day, the guests of Special Focus not only had a big feast to the stomach, but also, more importantly, visited the biggest crayfish enterprise Laker in Hubei for crayfish processing and paid a field trip into the raising base
to discover the stories behind the crayfish.
In a short while, these international foodies had rushed into a grand exhibition hall where a variety of cray fish-related agricultural and aquatic products were displayed at several rows of booths. Though there were stalls presenting other specialities like honey and tea, those attracting the international delegates most were all featuring crayfish, be it Xiantianxia in which crayfish was freshly cooked and served free or Xiaxiangdao(Crayfish Township Rice) in which rice produced by the adoption of “crayfish-rice integrated farming” was introduced. Foreigners were rare to meet in this small-sized city, so these special guests had to make poses here and there with people inviting them for pictures.
Lunch was a highlight of the day since four kinds of cooked crayfish were served on the table, braised, spiced, steamed and garlic-tasted. All the plates, including some cold and side dishes, were devoured by these foreign delegates in a moment, except one table that was surrounded by Muslims that were fasting during their Ramadan, but their dishes were cooked halal and packaged home.
Visiting Hubei Laker Group, one of the leading enterprises in crayfish industry in China, in the afternoon was also a kind of heart shock to our students. While watching through the windows along the passage hundreds of workers in white overalls standing along the streamline busying with selecting crayfish, students rushed for their questions on worker’s health, wage, daily output, annual income, and so on.
Then we came to Hubei Crayfish Selection and Breeding Center to find out crayfish breeding, raising ways, and how Qianjiang farmers raise crayfish with rice, lotus, crab, eel and mandarin carp etc.
All of them said through WeChat group that they had benefited a lot from making acquaintance with the crayfish at the festival, on the table and in the factory. They can see the creativities and intelligence of the Qianjiang people by just a glimpse of the whole industry. This off-campus lecture was sure to be a treasure in their study and lives. All are waiting for another chance.