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Visiting the chestnut factory
Written by Kim Dongki | Published. 2019.07.17 13:56 | Count : 363

As my senior year is getting closer, this summer break had the utmost importance when compared to other vacations. This vacation, I wanted to dedicate my time in preparations for college admissions. Specifically, I wanted to finish my college essays. However, I wasn’t certain of my major, so I wanted to spend some time on deciding my major.

Since I was young, I had an interest in food science and production due to my parents’ effect. My father was an oriental doctor, who mixed different ingredients to make a medicine for people. Also, my mother had an interest in making healthy organic foods, considering all the nutrients. Therefore, naturally, I had an interest in food and nutritional sciences as a kid and thought I wanted to study food science in college.

To spend my time wisely, I had researched different ways that I can spend the first month of my vacation to make my choice of major certain. To begin, I researched more about food science and found some examples of food science used in real-life. From the research, I found some real people who succeeded in mastering food science and production. By looking at the pioneers of this course, I wanted to know more about this major.

There was a small town in the side of South Korea called ‘Hadong’, where there were about five to six people who succeeded in business by utilizing food science. Therefore, I wanted to visit them and look at the live production of foods and how they utilize different methods to come up with the best production. Therefore, I contacted one of them and was luckily able to visit his factory. His factory was mainly producing fresh chestnuts and sugared chestnuts.

[Picture of the chestnut factory that I visited; taken by gyeongnam open news]

Before visiting his factory, there were multiple steps that I had to take. First, I had to get a health certificate that verified I do not carry any disease. Then, I had to wear disinfected over garments. I had to cover my hair with a hat, and I had to cover my shoes with a wrap around it. Then, I had to wash my hands thoroughly with a specific method. After I cleaned my hands, I had to use a hand sanitizer to get rid of the possibility of containing disease. All this strict sanitation check had to be done every time I tried to get into the factory. Also, there were set routes inside the factory which I had to follow or else had the possibility of contaminating the whole factory.

When I entered the factory finally after the long sanitation, I was astonished by the productions. My image of the factory was having lots of people packaging the products and stacking them into the boxes one by one manually. However, almost every part of the production was done by machines. The factory tried to lessen the number of workers because of increasing minimum wage. In the perspectives of the factory owners, they had huge financial damage due to the increased minimum wage of the workers. This gave me an insight since I always thought increasing minimum wage was only a good phenomenon for the whole society.

[Picture of me looking at the packaging machine; taken by one of the workers in the factory] 

The production of chestnuts had long extensive steps. First, about thousands to ten thousand chestnuts came into the factory. Then, these chestnuts were dried by machines. 

Some of these dried chestnuts were directly packaged by a huge machine, and other chestnuts were sugared. After they were packaged, they went into the retort sterilizer. The retort sterilizer is a very special machine this factory uses, which kills the germs inside the package by heating up and altering the interior pressure of the package. This machine heated and steamed the chestnuts inside the package to cook and sterilize the them as well as to lengthen the expiration date.

[Picture of the retort sterilizer; taken by myself]

This visit to the chestnut factory gave me new insight into food science. By looking at the food production process of the chestnuts, I was surprised that even the productions that seemed to be so simple had extremely strict precautions and long steps. I realized that food science that I thought of was not simply creating new food products, but had more to do with the process of the productions. I learned that because food directly relates to human health, food production and science needs more strict steps in terms of production compared to other businesses. Also, by looking at the factory, I felt that I have a responsibility to make a healthy, clean food sources if I was going study this major in the future.



Kim Dongki 
Grade 11
Korea International School Jeju

Kim Dongki  student_reporter@dherald.com

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