From Farm to Market to Table. Photo by Kyle Phanroy

It’s just after 3am in Hoc Mon, an outlying district of Ho Chi Minh City. Mr. Ho and his wife are picking vegetables from their small, isolated farm on the edge of the city. Growing rau sach, vegetables cultivated without the use of chemicals, the daily routine starts with picking the water spinach and Vietnamese cabbage, before washing it down to prepare it for the market.

 

From there Ho drives the day’s produce in a trailer towards Go Vap Wholesale Market, stopping on the way to leave some pre-ordered vegetables for customers on the side of the road.

 

In Go Vap Market, it’s 5am and it’s frenetic. There’s no time to talk here, no time to gossip or shoot the morning breeze. Transactions are fast — how much? Okay, here’s the money. Because of the rain, a lot of the crops in and around Ho Chi Minh City have been damaged. So prices are high — VND200,000 for 12 large bunches of water spinach. Despite this, Ho sells out within an hour.

 

One of his buyers, Mr. Hoa, is a market stall owner from Tan Phu. An hour later in Tan Phu Market, he and his wife have set up their vegetable stall selling, among other things, the produce grown on Ho’s farm. At 9am, Ms. Hien arrives and buys a small bunch of water spinach for VND15,000. She takes it home to cook for lunch. — Kyle Phanroy and Vu Ha Kim Vy

 

Photos by Kyle Phanroy / September 2015


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