With its deep purple color, the corn is already more mysterious and alluring compared with other products. What’s more striking and humorous is that the Black Treasure Purple Glutinous Corn stands up straight, one next to another, in cartons that one might first believe was used for bottles of drinks. This design might be related to the short shelf life and the satisfying refreshment of beer – and in fact, the packaging is printed with the slogan “A Fresh Six-Pack – Pack and Go.” Complementing the logo “Purple Happiness” next to the slogan, written in a plump font, the message of “Find Happiness” is once again reinforced. A rough hemp rope ties up a round brand tag, which shows a young man wearing a cowboy hat smiling, and allows it to drop from the handle.
Creative Agriculture: Not Only a Farmer, but also a Creative Designer
The young man’s name is Hu Chih-hung. After obtaining his graduate degree from the School of Architecture at Feng Chia University, Hu became a research assistant at National Cheng Kung University. Hu had also worked at a construction company and later as a real estate agent. However, after trying out all these jobs, Hu realized that all these professions could not bring him the life that he truly aspired to. In 2012, the opportunity came as his wife’s teaching job was transferred to a post back in her hometown. Hu then returned to Qingshui, Taichung with his wife to help out with her family’s farming business, a field completely unfamiliar to him.
Since he was new to the area, Hu began tirelessly teaching himself new things and further consulted with experienced farmers, hoping to improve and advance his farming techniques. In 2016, he founded HITO Creative Agriculture, where “HITO” came from the meaning of “number one” in Japanese, and “Creative Agriculture” translated the message of “not only a farmer, but also a creative designer.” All along, Hu Chih-hung has been proactively advocating environmentally friendly cultivation methods. He was elected the leader of his vegetable production team and a production ambassador to South Korea. Hu hopes that he will continue exploring the infinite possibilities in agriculture and upend existing limitations and stereotypes.
HITO primarily produces corn, which are grown in a farmland with fierce winds. Despite having to overcome this inclement weather, Hu Chih-hung has been optimistic about farming here because, as he has been saying, “My wife loves purple glutinous corn.” His romantic ideal has also been exactly his original belief in farming – “I am growing my agricultural products as if I am growing them for my family.” Compared with regular glutinous corn, the purple glutinous corn at HITO have corn kernels that are slightly sticky, sweet, chewy, and more filling. Because Hu understands how anthocyanidin can benefit our health, Black Treasure Purple Glutinous Corn has become HITO’s key product, promoted to all potential customers.
The Observations of the Young Farmer Gave Birth to the Brand Name
Over the last few years, the Council of Agriculture has been dedicated in assisting local farmers to compete in the e-commerce market, as an effort to expand new business opportunities for Taiwan’s agriculture. Ideamax Design came to visit Hu Chih-hung’s farm in relation to this counseling case and discovered the flourishing grassland on the farm. According to Hu Chih-hung, he has implemented a vegetative cultivation method that completely avoids the use of pesticide and thus the concerns of pesticide residue. For the enemy of the cornfields, Asian corn borers, Hu is using pheromones to resolve the issue; and for pests in the summer, Hu makes use of Bacillus thuringiensis. There are many ladybugs in the farm, and they will prey on the aphids to create a natural ecological balance. Ideamax Design also noticed that Hu is involved throughout the process – from harvesting to sending off orders; in conversations with Hu, he conveys a young farmer’s self-contained ease and fulfillment.
“I feel really happy that I am able to do something I enjoy doing.” These observations were aligned with the characteristics of the black treasure purple glutinous corn that brought forth the “Purple Happiness” brand. By giving it the name “happiness,” it not only vitalizes the brand, but it also corresponds to the first Chinese character of “HITO” (meaning happiness in Chinese) as well as Hu’s enthusiasm and purest happiness towards looking after his land. With the “purple agricultural product” as the starting point, the innovative concept of “A Fresh Six-Pack – Pack and Go” was created. Ideamax Design and Hu Chih-hung made breakthroughs in fresh corn sales model and successfully generated new waves in corn marketing. Hu aspires to bestow a brand-new image to Taiwan’s agricultural products through the debut of his “Purple Happiness.” Moreover, he hopes that these healthy and highly nutritious products will be introduced to and better understood by more consumers.