Should you’ve ever questioned why pine nuts are so costly this story may make you suppose twice about whining whereas shopping for your pesto elements. A pine nut farmer in China is fortunate to be alive after a mishap led to him flying 200 miles, uncontrolled, in a tiny balloon basket.
The farmer, who is simply being recognized as Hu, was harvesting pine nuts in Heilongjiang province when the hydrogen balloon preserving him aloft got here untethered and he started floating away. One other farmer working with Hu jumped from the basket earlier than it rose too excessive, however Hu wasn’t so fortunate.
The person floated for the remainder of the day, and in a single day earlier than rescuers on the bottom have been in a position to contact the person and instruct him how he might slowly launch the hydrogen within the balloon — permitting him to slowly descend. It’s been reported that Hu is okay, aside from some decrease again ache, believed to be a product of standing for hours on finish within the tiny nut-harvesting basket.
Consider it or not, that is nonetheless the most secure, most dependable option to harvest pine nuts. The very best nuts can solely be obtained from pine cones that are nonetheless connected to extraordinarily tall pine timber in mountainous areas — and that has made harvesting them extraordinarily troublesome. Prior to now farmers would scale the timber themselves, utilizing ropes and spiked boots — however this was extraordinarily harmful. Dozens of farmers a 12 months would plummet to their deaths, a product of unhealthy buy with their boots, breaking branches, or a mix of each.
Lifts, or cherry pickers are both too costly for many farmers — or impractical to navigate the mountain terrain. A 2017 story on pine nut harvesting even defined a plan to make use of monkeys to retrieve the nuts, however that didn’t work both.
“They even tried coaching monkeys to choose the pinecones, however discovered that the pine timber’ sap would stick with the monkeys’ fur, and the animals couldn’t be coaxed to climb the timber a second time.”
This left farmers with one concept: Small balloons full of hydrogen. If correctly tethered to the bottom it might enable them to succeed in the highest of the timber and work in relative security, earlier than being pulled again to the bottom by a spotter. It’s nonetheless an especially harmful course of and staff proceed to die whereas utilizing the balloon rigs, nevertheless it’s the very best reply society has to make sure the pine nut business continues.
Fortunately for Hu, fashionable expertise ultimately saved him. The person drifted into an space of cellphone protection the place rescue groups have been in a position to name him and provides directions on how one can get again to the bottom.
I’ll by no means complain about $20 for a tiny jar once more.