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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Learning about silk!

Greetings from China!

We are blogging from the bus in Suzhou, China. We started the day with a great American breakfast. There were also boiled eggs in soy sauce and sautéed black fungi - sounds delicious doesn't it? We left the hotel to head to our boat tour on Suzhou Shantang City Canal. The locals call it the Venice of the East. The canal was hand dug in 515 B.C. On the boat cruise we saw how the locals live their every day lives. We saw lots of interesting things including skinned dead chickens hanging from a line on the back patio waiting to be eaten.

After cruising through the canal, we reloaded the bus and headed to the Suzhou Silk Factory. There, our tour guide, Helen, explained to us the silk worm life cycle. Farmers keep the best 5% of silk worms for reproduction. Female worms lay around 400 worms and after hatching they eat for 25 days and begin spinning their cocoon. Then we saw the process of sorting, spinning, dying and weaving. We were able to see their large selection of products made from high quality silk. Many purchased everything from scarves to ties.

We visited the Suzhou Young-Land Company Milk Processing Plant. This plant processes all of the milk from the dairy farm we visited yesterday. In one day they process 15 tons of raw milk into yogurt and whole milk. This company also has 10,000 geese that they sell eggs from. We all had the opportunity to sample their products which were similar to the U.S. products.

The next stop was the Suzhou Institute of Vegetable Crops. They have over 35,000 square meters of greenhouse capacity. They employ 26 technicians and 16 agronomists. They raise more than 30 types of vegetables. They sell 30 percent of their produce to local markets for consumption. The other 70 percent is used to produce seed to be distributed to farmers to plant. They are concentrating on research to improve plant efficiency and growth.

We are now traveling to Shanghai to our hotel. This will be our last city to visit on our trip to China.

More tomorrow....

Dr. D's Dynasty
Tom Dormody, Group Leader, New Mexico State University
Will Amick, South Carolina
Chris Atkins, Virginia
Doug Giles, Tennessee
Annarose Hart, Kansas
Chanse Huggins, Florida
Justin Krell, Minnesota
Annie Larson, Illinois
Lauren Perry, Nebraska
Chase Rose, Montana
Cain Thurmond, Georgia


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