This is a bumper year for tram (canarium) in Chi Linh forests after a very long time.
After heavy rain and strong winds, tree feet are completely covered with falling tram, ready for picking
Mountains and forests have no shortage of delicious gifts, but the fruit that tastes both rather tart and sweetish as the flavor of highlands still makes many people flutter.
Summer forest taste
Forestal tram is a fruit that Vu Duc Tien, born in 1959 and living in Ben Tam residential area, Hoang Tan ward, has been attached to since poverty and hunger. Now, having enough and to spare, blurred eyes, and tired legs, but Tien still busies himself preparing tools to go into the woods for harvesting every time the tram falling season comes.
According to Tien, tram is a woody plant with branches rising high to completely catch night dew and roots deeply and firmly clinging to forest soil, the most prominent among forest trees. Therefore, under dense forest canopies, it is difficult to find out whether the trees are fruitful or not. Nonetheless, woodmen have learnt that whenever it rains a lot, tram will be delicious.
“It’s true. It’s just the beginning of the season, but white tram fruits falling around tree feet can be picked up freely. During the season, apart from appearing in the meals of Chi Linh people, tram is also bought and resold in many places as a gift,” excitedly said Tien.
In the past, Tien picked tram in exchange for rice, and tram fed his family during stormy days. At present, it is not only a source of income but also a hard-to-give-up hobby.
In the past years of bad harvest, one even tired their legs and strained their eyes before finding a fruiting tram tree. However, woodmen have their own rules, so they do not take everything they see. In the midst of immense mountains and forests, with the sense gained from many years of experience in the woods, they know which trees have been targeted by others to resign to each other.
Hence, in the tram season, there are times when tram is priced for as high as 30,000 – 40,000 VND/kg, but no one fights or conflicts to have more than each other. Both forest owners and woodmen always think that whoever puts in more effort will get more instead of keeping or fighting for the “fortune” of forests.
There are two kinds of Chi Linh forestal tram, white tram with green peel and black tram with dark purple peel.
White tram is also divided into pink and scar ones, but only veteran woodmen can recognize and distinguish them.
The tram season coincides with the rainy one, which lasts from the end of June to the beginning of August in lunar calendar. White tram is harvested sooner than black one, so often more expensive.
Rain gives forests “new clothes” and connects the flow of streams, leading to more fish and shrimps. Nothing is as delicious as fish cooked with tram. The tartness of tram helps remove the fishy smell, and its sweetness makes the dish more flavorful.
Not only suitable for fish, tram is also cooked with meat and brine or preserved in salt, very rice-consuming, so anyone who has tried it will remember it forever.
Therefore, nowadays, tram is no longer an embodiment of the period of hunger, when it was mixed with rice, but a specialty bought by many people to enjoy the typical flavor of mountains and forests.
In Chi Linh forests, white tram is more common than black one
“There are many specialties in mountains and forests in summer, each of which has its own characteristics, but it is difficult to compare them with forestal tram,” said Bui Van Thao in Dong Chau hamlet, Hoang Hoa Tham commune, when mentioning the gift rustic and simple but containing the quintessence of mountains and forests.
Caressing early tram in his hands, Thao said though the main crop has not begun, many people called to place orders to enjoy this taste awakening fruit. Unfortunately, there are not many tram trees left in Chi Linh forests.
The forest Thao is in charge of covers an area of more than 30 ha on high mountains, bordering Quang Ninh and Bac Giang provinces.
There are hundreds of old tram trees there which even two people cannot take in their arms. Experienced and professional woodmen affirm that tram in Thao’s forest is the most beautiful and delicious because the bigger trees are, the bigger and tastier fruits are.
Perhaps that is the reason why despite the distance and inconvenient travel, a lot of people still come there to collect tram.
Thao does not keep tram for himself but is willing to share and benefit from this natural product with everyone as long as woodmen have a sense of preserving and protecting forest trees.
Tram trees in Thao’s forest are 50 – 60 years old and tens of meters high. If there is a bumper crop, each tree can yield quintals of fruit. Old fruits not picked up after falling to tree feet will grow into seedlings.
With diligence and enthusiasm for forest trees, Thao always carefully selects and plants seedlings in suitable places for more and more tram trees to grow and sprout.
Benefiting from the woods, Thao is always concerned about how to preserve primeval forests, especially old tram trees.
He said in the past, there were numerous tram trees of various types in Chi Linh forests. However, for lack of knowledge and livelihood, a lot of trees were cut down, so now tram trees are concentrated in deep forest areas.
Since realizing the gradual loss of a benefit source, many people have planted new trees, which, however, is not enough to make up for the lost ones. Therefore, Thao always looks for any ways to preserve mature trees.