Explore Korea’s Treasures-February 2018

Nonsan City

South Korea is one of the top five strawberry producing countries in the world, and strawberries are one of South Korea’s largest fruit exports. Korea is known for some of the freshest and most delicious strawberries you can get. February through May is the best time of year to visit a strawberry farm and experience the most flavorful strawberries. Just a short drive south of Osan in Nonsan City, visit the largest strawberry producer in South Korea to sample and bring home the juiciest strawberries you’ve ever had!

The proprietors of the farm will teach you how to recognize if a strawberry is ripe and how to properly pick them. Eat your fill while picking and fill up a container to bring home. Next, explore some of the strawberry-themed foods around the farm. Sample chocolate covered strawberries, hotteok, ice cream, slushies, hot sauce, rice cakes, and more. There is no limit to the creative strawberry concoctions.

A favorite activity of visitors is making your own strawberry jam. Even if you are no Martha Stewart, masters of the recipe are close by to help you through the process and make it foolproof.

When you have reached your fill of strawberries, head to the nearby Gwanchoksa temple. This gorgeous temple sets at the base of Mt. Banyasan. Legend says that a woman heard a baby crying in the forest and when she followed the sound she instead found a large rock. When the government heard about this they immediately decreed a large Buddha be built. It was erected in the tenth century and still stands today. It is the largest (almost 60 feet) stone Buddha in South Korea.

ITT will be taking a group to the Nonsan Strawberry Farm on Sunday, 25 February. Read more about it on pages 11-12.


Yesan-gun

If you are looking for a quaint and peaceful getaway, look no further than Yesan-gun,  a short 35 miles south of Osan. This lovely city was designated a “slow city” in 2009, meaning it maintains the traditional culture, community, and customs. Due to its proximity, this outing can be a quick day trip or a lovely weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast.

On your drive to Yesan stop at Sudeok Temple and explore the ancient temple grounds dating back approximately 1500 years. Many monks make a pilgrimage to this temple to learn about seon (meditation), sutras (scriptures), and vinaya (precepts). The temple has a rich and storied history and is a real treat to see in person.

Yesan sits right at the edge of the Mt. Bongsusan Natural Recreation Forest. You can spend the morning hiking and taking in the beautiful nature that surrounds you, then head out to other sites this city has to offer.

One of the most popular things to do here is apple picking. Yesan has been one of Korea’s main apple producers since the 1920s and continues that tradition today. The county maintains the perfect conditions for apple picking; in addition to the perfect weather, the city has remained largely unindustrialized. Spend a day at the orchard picking apples and exploring the grounds; you can even take a tractor ride! Then head back to the farmhouse and turn your fresh apples into a delicious pie or jam.  Next, tour the winery where they turn apples into delicious wine. At the end of the tour you even have the opportunity to sample and buy Korean apple wine or whiskey.

ITT will be visiting a Yesan-Gun Apple Winery and the Sudeok Temple on Monday, 19 February.

Visit ITT for more info on scheduled trips or call at 784-4254