ZHANG ZHAO SU

At home, in the North of China, Zhang Zao distributes small portions of pollen into small packets with a red apple printed on them, and then sells them to peasants for 5 yuans apiece. Hundreds of people are perched in the trees, pollinating the flowers with Q-tips or a bamboo stick on which a tuft of hen down has been affixed. The pollen is in a small glass jar that the workers carry around their necks. Among them are a lot of young women – they are light and can climb the trees’ young branches without damaging them. Concentrated and effective, the workers carry out their work, one flower at a time. But time is running out, the apple tree are in bloom for only four to five days and some rain has been announced.