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A Story of Hong Ssangri: a Mastermind behind Scrumptious Candies in Your SeoulBox

September 23, 2020

hong ssangri

In March, the mountains right next to the Seomjingang River, where blue waves flow, wear white flower clothes. As if winter white snow was piled up. It is a green plum farm full of plum blossoms.

It is located in Tosa-ri, Daap-myeon, Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, but faces Hadong, South Gyeongsang Province, with the Seomjingang River between them. Looking to the east, you can greet the sun early in the morning, and the sound of the river becomes a song, so the happiness of plum blossoms is the best in the world. Perhaps because of this, the plum blossoms in Cheongmaesil Farm are more beautiful and pleasant than the plum flowers in any other place. Therefore, even the springtime visitors to this place are happy.

However, if you look inside the representative Hong Ssang-ri, who made Cheongmaesil Farm exist today, you can't just smile. Hong received many excellent awards after hearing the title of Korea's first plum-name, but it is too small for his life.

When the Cheongmaesil Farm Festival, which began in 1995, begins, it will be crowded with more than 1 million people from all parts of the country. They look at the plum blossoms blooming in the mountains, and they are overwhelmed by the scent and are delighted. And you can't stop smiling happily while tasting a variety of plums.

The reason why people can enjoy happiness in this utopia is because of Hong's hard work and tears. Born in 1943 in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, Hong grew up to be a pretty girl who loved writing and singing. And I wanted to live as a singer every day. However, my father's opposition was severe, and when I was 16, I ended up being a clerk at my uncle's shop, which was in business at Busan International Market.



Sophisticated Busan Lady Becomes a Chestnut Farm Daughter-in-law



There, Hong was transformed into a sophisticated city girl, and many people around him covet her because she was praised for her good work and good care. She became a kyu-soo, enjoying city life with her friends.

Then an old man who was doing business with the store began telling Hong, "Let's be my daughter-in-law," and she ended up becoming his daughter-in-law a few years later. Hong's life in Busan ended in six years, and his marriage to his wife was in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, where he is now living in Cheongmaesil Farm.

When Hong first came to his marriage, it was all a field of chestnut trees. His father-in-law brought in chestnut seedlings from Japan and began planting them by reclaiming the mountains, and it was said that the seedlings were the most popular because they produced thicker chestnuts than other houses.

Hong, however, collapsed after hearing about the reality here. After living in a sophisticated city in Busan, she walked across the Seomjingang River in a suit and wore a pair of spiky shoes, and came to her in-laws' house on the hillside, and found a spooky house with a private door hanging on it.

Hong thought of "escape" at the moment and only got a glimpse of the opportunity. What would have been one thing you liked since he felt this way. His mother-in-law often scolded him for his poor living, and it was hard to hide his body shaking because he had to work in the night field. It's a steep mountain, so it's hard to get a burial, but she goes around the mountain with a woman's body to manure, harvest, and do housework. Fortunately, the love of a good husband and the love of his father-in-law for his daughter-in-law helped Hong endure.

Hong also cried a lot. I cry because my work is hard, my body hurts, and my heart aches and tears.



A bunch of plum blossoms stopped her from crying.



But one spring day. On the same day, Hong, who was walking in tears like rain, caught the eyes of Hong, who was walking in tears, and a few plum blossoms bloomed among the stones. She sits in front of the plum flower and begins a conversation with the flowers. Maehwa, "Mom, don't cry and live with me." Representative Hong said, "I'm so tired that I can't stand it." Maehwa says, "Mom, if you live with it, you'll definitely have a good day."

After crying in front of the plum flower, Hong felt relieved. And when I looked down at the Seomjingang River, I thought, "Let's try it," as the river fog was hanging around and Mt. Jiri stood tall behind it.

From that day on, Hong cut down the chestnut tree, which is his father-in-law's work, and began planting the plum tree. Of course, his father-in-law's opposition was severe, but he did not stop him because he knew his daughter-in-law's will. Cutting down big trees, pulling them down, and planting new trees are easier said than done. Hong shed a lot of tears, but he also shed a lot of blood due to his injury.

Still, there was no giving up. Bamnamu Mountain gradually changed its make-up to plum-tree mountains and turned into a flower heaven that bloomed every spring. Hong was happy that a great picture was being painted as he thought.

However, the father-in-law's son-in-law, who married in Japan and gave birth to his father-in-law, borrowed the land as collateral and ended up in debt after the project, which started in 1970, went bankrupt after four years, leaving his husband in bed with a vase. In the meantime, Hong became the mother of two sons and one daughter.

Hong, who was already struggling with farming, had to endure the pressure of debtors. At the expense of their threats and violence, Hong became more involved in his work. Even the children had to work to pay off their debts.

The plum tree planted by representative Hong bloomed beautiful flowers in early spring and showed fruit. The whole mountain was covered with plum blossoms, and plum harvests began to increase. The plums harvested were made with pickled vegetables and eaten as side dishes, and were aged in traditional pots to make the essence. But there was no special income.



Korea's First Famous Man to Set Up a Maehwa Heaven with Tears



Still, Hong consistently planted plum trees. Because her dream was to create a world of plum blossoms so that many people can come and enjoy happiness. Of course, Hong, who has experienced the advantages of plum more than anyone else, also thought of making good food using plum as a gift of "health."

Hong's traditional jars are growing, with more than 3,000 large jars currently lined up. Like a guard who protects Hong. The reason why they insist on traditional jars is because they breathe well. To breathe well is to become one with nature, so it's the best 'gift.' The jar is filled with the best plums and is being matured "beautifully." Plums are reborn as pickled vegetables, red pepper paste, doenjang, Korean sweets, candies, jelly, and essence, and are willing to be "healthful" to humans.

 



Hong issued a green plum farm business license in 1994 and began full-scale sales activities. But I was at a loss what to do. However, an "angel" came to Hong. A person preparing for a bazaar for the construction of a cathedral in Suncheon ordered 30 million won worth of condensate, saying he wanted to sell it, and the sale was completed in an instant, and the first operation was completed successfully. Since then, the plum concentrate of the green plum plantation has been rumored and orders have begun to rush in.

The following year, the Cheongmaesil Farm Festival started in 1995, and there were a lot of people who wanted to enjoy plum blossoms. This is exactly what Hong drew when he first met and talked to the plum blossoms in the stone gap.

Hong has achieved achievements such as the Prime Minister's Award in the processed food sector, No. 14 (Salpoon 1), the President's Award in the processed food sector, the Order of the Stone Pagoda Industry, the Grand Prize in the Rural Culture Awards, and the Tower of Exporting $1 million. And it received firm guarantees such as certification of eco-friendly agricultural products, certification of quality of traditional food, patent of manufacturing method, ISO certification, etc.

Cheongmaesil Farm is not just a field of plum trees. It is also a tourist attraction and a "healing" attraction for people who are tired of their mind and body. And I get called a lot of places like movies and dramas. Director Lim Kwon-taek of the Korean film industry often comes and shoots, and it is the filming location of "Chihwaseon" and "Chenomenology." Other dramas such as "Damo," "Fighter of the Wind," "Black Waterline" and "Spring Waltz" were also born here.


A million people flock to Cheongmaesil Farm Festival, becoming the epitome of "healing."



Hong said, "Even if Cheongmaesil Farm is used as a filming location, we don't get paid for it. Rather, it provides more support. This image is in common with his father-in-law. Hong's father-in-law said, "It is not farming for his family, but how the whole neighborhood lives well together and makes good things so that many people can benefit from his father-in-law said.

Not only the president but also famous celebrities visit here. In particular, Buddhist monk Beopjeong, who Hong calls "father," is said to have painted a green plum farm. The advice was to plant a plum tree to the top of the mountain, and to lower the height of the building to let the energy of the left Cheongryong Ubaekho flow.

Hong, who is still excited to see the flowers, says the tears and sweat he has shed so far have become the best manure of the green plum plantation. Even though he is past his old age, he does not stop farming. I can't sit still when I think of flowers that smile at me when I'm sick and tired of the pain that no one can bear. In the meantime, talking to the flowers is piled up with poems for them.

 

Hong is no longer crying. In the meantime, pain is just a 'wave' thought. Waves come at any time, but they must disappear. Rather, they say life is fun when the waves hit. It's the 'words' we have to keep in mind. Especially, I hope that young people have it.

Hong's face has many "smile wrinkles." The hardships of the past are not portrayed when you face each other. It's our 'mother'. Our mother, no matter how hard it may be, must overcome it. She is a "mother" who cannot sit down, especially because of her children.

In March, a green plum farm is painted in full bloom. The faces of those who smile broadly with flowers are also vivid in the eyes. Under a tree full of plum blossoms, this is where you can see the green Seomjingang River.

Finally, he will reveal one piece of information about Hong. The name Ssangri was not originally named.



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