Tag Archives: Fig

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Naitoh Fig Orchard in Okitsu

“With the present changes in climate my neighbors are joking that we might have to think of growing pineapples soon!” Mr. Yoshihiko Naitoh told me while driving me from Okitsu Station to his orchard up in the mountains.

I had called him te day before after my good friend Yasushi Imaizumi, a gastronome and real connoisseur, has introduced me to this great farmer.
He had gracefully agreed to pick me up as his farm is noteasy to find, but had warned me he had some work on the way.

Which suited me fine as it gave me the occasion to visit Okitsu JA Farmers Market where he delivered some of the morning’s crop.
Mr. Naitoh is a fourth generation farmer as far as tea and mikan/madarine oranges are concerned, but as for figs he is a first generation farmer and has grown them for 22 years.

The first that struck me in his orchard is that he uses almost no pesticides or herbicides as proved by the grasses growing freely between the rows of fig trees.
As for fertilizer he mainly uses pig’s manure from a neighboring farmer that he mixes with only a minimum of artificial fertilizer, mainly calcium and potassium.

This particular fig, in spite of its green/-yellow skin is ripe!
It is a “banané fig/バナネ無花果”, a French variety. Beautiful and succulent!

Mr. Naitoh grows three types of figs which don’t need any help for pollination: Banané Fig/バナネ無花果, Common Fig/普通無花果, and

and Violet Figs/ヴィオレ無花果, another French variety which turns to a striking black/purple color when ripe!

One cannot replant a fig tree in the same spot from where another fig tree has been rooted out. Mr. Naitoh therefore keeps experimenting even using discarded polysterene boxes!

Mr. Naitoh also grows fig trees in pots to sell to homes and gardeners!

I wouldn’t mind one of those on my balcony!

For a closer look!
Taking care of a fig tree is not so difficult. Don’t forget to cut the fruit-bearing branches at their base in winter. Don’t worry they will grow fast again and produce two crops in July and Ocotober in warm conditions!

As Mr. Naitoh uses no pesticides, in the afternoon he turns hunter and kill the little critters by hand!

Mr. Naitoh is not only a grower but a fine chef!
I bought this succulent-looking fig compote!
I also got his fig jam!

These figs will be delivered as far as Chiba Prefecture on the other side of Tokyo!

Apart of oranges and tea on pieces of land dispersed in the mountains, Mr. Naitoh also cultivates Roselle/ロセル, a variety of hibiscus.
Now, why is he growing flowers in the middle of his orchards?

For food!

The flowers are picked before they open at all.
The core will be discarded and only the red sepal will be kept to be turned into jam!
I got a full bag of them and made my own jam, reminiscent of acid pomegranates. Absolutely beautiful (in taste as well as in looks!)!

Mr. Naitoh accepts private orders of his three types of figs, fig compote, fig jam, roselle, so do not hesitate to call him!

NAITOH ORCHARD/内藤農園
Yoshihiko Naitoh/内藤好彦
Mobile: 09029465250
Tel.: 054-369-1679

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Greek Dessert: Fig & Pistachio Tarts!

GREEK-CAKE

When I found this Greek dessert in my old notes I immediately thought of Dorian at Foodbuzz!
The fact I’m French does not mean I’m averse to other countries’ gastronomy. On the very contrary, as proven by my love for Japanese food! In any case, in these ages of fusion one might be considered slightly backward if not open to all gastronomies! LOL

Here is a recipe than can be enjoyed when figs are in season (very soon!)
Figs and Pistachio tarts!

INGREDIENTS: For 6 small tarts (tartelettes)

-Pastry:
Flour: 250 g
Almond powder: 50 g
Sugar: 4 tablespoons
Egg yolk: 1
Butter: 160 g + a little for the molds
Salt: 1 pinch

-Filling:
Fresh figs: 12
Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon
Butter: 50 g
Unsalted pisachio out of teir shells: 250 g
Honey: 100 g

RECIPE:

-Preparing the pastry:
Pour the flour and almond powder into a large bowl. Add the salt and sugar. Mix. dig a well in the middle and drop the egg yolk in. Mix with the tips of your fingers. Add the butter brokeninto small pieces and 1 or 2 tablespoons of iced water. Knead until you obtain an homogeneous paste. Let rest for 30 minutes.

-Spread the pastry. Cut out six discs (you may divide the pastry into 6 equal parts and spread them into circles individually). Butter the inside of 6 small tart molds. Place pastry inside molds. Put aside.

-Filling:
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Wash the figs and cut in slices. Put them inside the tarts. Add some pieces of butter on them. Sprinkle them with the cinnamon first and then with half of of the honey.

-Bake tarts inside oven for 20 minutes.
Cover them with the pistachio and cook for 5 minutes.

-Heat the remaining honey to liquefy it.
Pour honey over tarts.
Let cool completely.

For Greek wine lovers try a mellow wine called Mavrodaphne from Patras with it!

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Agricultural Products: Fig Jam/”Ichijiku Jyamu”

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fig-jam.jpg

In this world replete with additives, preservatives, artificial colouring and jellified matters, it has become a boon to discover or beiing offered real fruit jams as they should be!
My good friend, Patrick Harrington brought me this particular fig jam from Ito Ciy in the Izu Peninsula yesterday.
Izu Peninsula, an almost subtropical area at times is celebrated for its fruit and derived products in particular.
This fig jam contains locally-grown figs, sugar and citric acid, and that is it.
Sweet but not cloying at all mixed with some welcome acidity, it tastes like real fig with the right consistency and even a little cruchiness provide by the minuscule seeds.
Best appreciated on its own, especially on toasts, but would also make great toppings over fruit tarts and give this wild flavour to sauces for wild fowl, duck and venison!

“Ichijiku Jyamu”/Fig Jam
Poduced and sold by Aira Izu Agricultural Cooperative
Ito City, Usami, 1808-1
Tel.: 0557-489300