When thinking about farming, pine nuts are probably at the bottom of the list for most people as a common farm item — at least in the United States.
However, fruit and nut farm harvesting is a fairly common occupation in China. In fact, as of 2022, it’s the seventh most common occupation according to IBIS World.
Unfortunately for these farmers, it’s also a dangerous profession, and a difficult one.
Most pine nut farmers buy specialized shoes with spikes on them and climb trees that grow pine nuts, but others chose a different route: a hot air balloon.
Hot air balloons are a common way for pine nut farmers to harvest pine nuts, even though it’s actually illegal in China to harvest them that way, according to South China Morning Post.
A man, who is only being identified by his surname, Hu, was using a hot air balloon to pick pine nuts. A colleague was in the balloon with him, according to IndiaTimes.com.
They had attempted to secure the balloon to a location on the ground in a forest park located in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China.
After the pair got in the balloon and began working, the balloon suddenly became untethered from where they had secured it, and started to float away.
Hu’s colleague was able to escape from the drifting balloon without injury, but Hu remained in the balloon.
Soon after, a search was organized to find Hu and the balloon.
Hu drifted for two days, and ended up traveling a total of about 200 miles, not far from the Russian border, according to The Guardian.
After drifting into an area where his cell phone had a signal, rescuers called him and instructed him on how to get the balloon to land safely.
Hu was found to be safe and in good health.
Pine nuts are one of the key ingredients in pesto, but they are used in other dishes, too, according to Diamond Nuts.
Their mild flavor allows for them to be used in foods that are sweet, salty or spicy.
Since their texture is soft and they’re easy to chew, they can be perfect in a dish that needs a bit of added texture with minimal crunch.
Pine nuts come from the seeds of pine trees, and there are four species that produce edible nuts.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.