Crowding People’s Market for Cabbage: The Price Is Right – Jim Yardley

1219cabbage.jpgFrom The New York Times:

At 5:45 in the morning the cabbage line outside the Old Drum Tower Outer Street New People’s Produce Market is nearly two hours old. First in line is a 72-year-old woman named Mrs. Wang, who awoke at 3, arrived at 4 and would wait until 8:30 for a single head of winter cabbage. Free.

……
Cabbage and old people are civic institutions in . Winter brings them together. For generations cabbage has arrived in markets by November, and Beijingers have hoarded it as an insurance policy to last them until spring, depending on the outdoor refrigeration of rooftops or windowsills. Cabbage and turnips were the staples that saw people through the uncertain harvests and aching poverty of the Mao era.

……
This year farmers grew so much cabbage that prices dipped to record lows in November, with markets charging only a few pennies a head. Even so, when the Old Drum Tower market introduced its cabbage promotion in late November, the daily line soon stretched under two overpasses and past a new luxury hotel.[Full Text]

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