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 died.
Durian Seng’s son Chang Zhi Vooi told Vulcan Post, “My grandfather was very strict with his children, he would not let them eat a single durian, as he needed to sell all the durians for money.”
These durians came from their so-called farm Bao Sheng Durian Farm (宝盛 园), which translates to “a lot of treasures.” It is said that the durians served on this farm have a certain singularity. When consumed 30 minutes after the fall of the tree, they emit a “sleepy” taste, which Zhi Vooi describes as a sensation of gas and gasoline on the tongue.
The main challenge, however, was to catch the durians in this short period of time, so the family did it with the help of 5G, but later.
Hit the ground
Cultivation processes have changed drastically since the establishment of the farm in 1959. When it started 62 years ago in Penang, its main goal was to raise 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 emit more complex and deep flavors that were not just the sweet or bitter ones of a dimension that their younger counterparts had.
With that, Durian Seng realized that tasting durians was an experience that could be enjoyed instead of one more product that had to be taken away for money. Thus, the goal of Bao Sheng Durian Farm went from wholesale to sharing the taste of durians to fruit lovers.
In 2007, a 6.7-acre villa was built as a place to stay so visitors could taste the fresh durians, along with their feeling of numbness emitted in this 30-minute window.
Old farm with new tricks
This numbness was discovered when Durian Seng and his wife stumbled upon a fully mature durian that had fallen and crashed into the rock of an old tree.
“Then we realized that hitting a very fresh durian can make it taste dormant. Gradually, we also discovered that older, healthier trees, with better soil and environment, provide a higher percentage of getting that sleepy flavor, ”said Zhi Vooi.
Learning the ropes of durian agriculture in his teens, Zhi Vooi changed 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 chemical sprays are used.
The plant is seen in its general context. It is considered the soil, soil water and atmosphere, the light and temperature that surround it and the cosmos (sun, moon, planets and stars). 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, owner of the third generation of Bao Sheng Durian Farm.
However, if a durian was not found within 30 minutes of the fall, all this effort may simply be wasted. In 2020, networks were installed to capture fallen durians and enabled 5G so that the Chang family could receive notification of where this durian was on the farm.
Zhi Vooi clarified that this technology mainly helps them save time, as they were previously looking for a fallen durian from all possible trees.
“Sensors are placed along each durian network, which allows them to detect changes in the voltage and weight of the network when a fruit falls. Then, an alert is immediately sent to Mr. Chang’s phone, detailing the location of the fruit, “said Claire Featherstone, a member of the Maxis team that helped install the technology now called Durian. Without.
The technology uses massive 5G machine type communications (mMTC) components to help provide real-time information on harvesting needs. Its sensors have the ability to monitor durian harvests based on their time and location.
When the durians are retrieved from the net, they are struck to mimic the impact of the fall which activates a chemical reaction in the meat that contributes to the feeling of numbness. Only in this way can the fruits be opened to enjoy them.
An abundance of durians
Because Bao Sheng Durian Farm is also a tourist attraction, his team had to pivot to sell durians directly to customers and middlemen while their villas were closed during the closures. Customers could order directly from the Penang farm or buy the durians in vacuum-packed packages from organic store partners.
Since the insensitive durians cannot survive the trip, Zhi Vooi said the Chang family has been enjoying them all without any guests.
“In addition, we can be more focused on agriculture and now we have time to observe the health of our farm during the durian season. Before the MCO we would be quite busy serving guests without time to sit under the trees to ponder. , walking and doing farm work, ”he detailed.
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 knowledge of the current generation in durian agriculture and to accommodate more guests who experience the flavors of durians.
- You can find more information about Bao Sheng Durian Farm here.
- You can read about other startups in Malaysia here.
Featured Image Credit: Chang Teik Seng, owner of Bao Sheng Durian Farm