|Posted on May 19, 2013 at 2:00 AM|
Three weeks ago, Sun and I had an inclination to trek to another unfamiliar area of Jirisan, Hwagae Valley. From time to time, I would walk by what is known as the Emperor's Village without giving much thought about what may lie beyond.
Today was different. Our curiosity took us on yet another trekking adventure and on the way to the peak we were greeted by barking dogs, magpies, crows, and came upon a crystal clear mountain creek. It was a steep and arduous climb which only became steeper and steeper. We had climbed to about 450 meters when we discovered the green gems gently swaying in the breeze. However, the surrounding landscape was littered with random potholes that were dug by mountain boars that gnawed and chewed at the roots of the tea shrubs.The resilient wild nokcha bushes were found growing between and under boulders, and shaded by trees such as pine and maple.
Sun and I selectively and carefully hand collected these wild and tender spring tea flushes which consist primarily of 1 bud and 1 leaf plucking. They were slowly but thoroughly hand-kneaded several times to extract their juicy sap. The wild nokcha flushes were then slowly roasted in a hot wok all the while minimally hand tossed to protect their delicate nature. Lastly, they were hand-packed and heat sealed in 20 gram foil bags and are only available in extremely limited quantities.