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With Summer Comes a Glorious Lotus Harvest Season in Hoi An

The farmers we met in these fields near Hoi An have been working their lotus farms since the end of the 1970s. The area has been a hub of lotus production in the decades since.

Sprawling lotus farms as seen from above.

Lotus fields in shadow and light.

Working the harvest.

The lotus harvest only takes place during summer, and the farmers spend the rest of the year working in the mountains surrounding the fields, collecting wood and raising cattle. They start harvesting lotus seeds at around 4am, pause during the brutal midday heat, and return when the temperatures drop.

Lotus and mountains.

Loading baskets and carts.

Open lotus flowers bathed in golden light.

Collected seeds are sold for VND150,000 per kilogram for retail, or VND130,000 per kilo for wholesale. To make scented lotus tea, farmers put green tea inside flowers when they close at around 11pm, and they then pick the flowers at 3am, before they re-open.

Hats and gloves are needed in the central Vietnam sun.

Walking through a lotus farm.

They follow this routine to get the best flavor out of the lotus flowers. Take a look at a day in the life of lotus farmers below.

Left: A lotus in full bloom. Right: Tossing lotus seeds into a basket.

Bagging up lotus seeds.

A long day's work.

Wading through a sea of lotus.

Darkroom is a Saigoneer series documenting the beauty and stories of Vietnam and beyond via photographs. If you have a compelling story you wish to share, send us an email via [email protected].

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