Healthy Oranges in a Healthy Environment: Shiratori Orchard in Izu Peninsula

Healthy Oranges in a Healthy Environment!

Last Monday I somehow managed to get a full day free (and I certainly needed the whole of it!). My good friend Yasushi Imaizumi/今泉康 drove me on a grand tour of the Eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Our destination was a remote place deep south the eastern coast of Izu Peninsula.

The day was just gorgeous!
Absolutely blue skies and mild temperatures.
We just couldn’t help taking pictures of snow-capped Mount Fuji on the way!

It took us (Yasushi) three hours to drive down to Shirata/白田, near the minuscule fishing harbor of Inatori/稲取, in Kamo Gun/賀茂郡, only a short distance from Shimoda City/下田市.

There, we discovered the oranges orchard of the Shiratori Family with an incredible view over the ocean. By clear weather you can see as far as Oshima/大島 Island!

Miyoko Shiratori/白鳥美代子, a live-in student, her daughter-in-law, Hiroko/弘子, her son, Takehisa/岳寿 and her husband, Ryuusaku/龍作.

Mr. Ryuusaku Shiratori/白鳥龍作 (82), was a seventh generation of growers of rice, tea, oranges and wasabi back in Shizuoka City until he decided to move there 40 years ago to become the first of three generations of orange growers.
This must have been the right choice as he and his wife Miyoko/美代子 could pose in any magazines as models of incredibly healthy longevity!

Having bought those 2 ha of steep terrain, he had it buldozzed into shelves within three days!

I can tell you that you need good feet and good eyes to move through the orchard!

He has never looked back since then!
He is presently helped by his son Takehisa/岳寿 (54), his daughter-in-law, Hiroko/弘子 (49) and his grandson Tatsumi/達巳 (26). They also get the very much needed hands of a live-in student from Shizuoka City.

Ryuusaku Shiratori demonstrating cuttings to my friend Yasushi.

They do grow many varieties of oranges and one of them, a hybrid developed by Ryuusaku, Shiratori Hyuuga/白鳥日向 (developed from Hyuuga Natsu/日向夏 from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu Island) has been registered with the Japanese Agriculture & Forestry Ministry!
Actually, he is quite well-known as no later than a week before a whole Tokyo HHK TV crew of 10 staff and 2 cameras spent a whole day there!

These Hyuuga Shiratori oranges are carefully pruned away to leave only the best fruit which are wrapped in paper for better fruition!

Another view of the trees!

The wrapping takes days and days!

40-years old trees! They can be harvested until the grand age of 60 years!

Trees are propagated with cuttings planted directly into the soil.
These new trees will be completely pruned for 4~5 years before harvesting the first oranges.

100% organic culture is impossible, but the Shiratoris reckon that their orchard is more than 90% organic. The second and third generations have actually been awarded the title of Ecofarmers by the Government!
Fertilizer is practically organic. You understand it when you see the beautiful grass growing between the trees.
As for pests, they use the very minimum of pesticides and introduce natural enemies of such pests such as ladybugs and other carnivorous insects!
Pollination is done either by hand, with the help of the wind, or with rented bees!

Their Shiratori Hyuuga oranges, although seedless and full of juice, will take two more months to mature to a tasty and sweet juice.


This beauty is not ready yet!

New Summer Oranges (will be mature in May!)

As I said, they grow many varieties to organize a constant harvest and delivery.
Among them Haruka/晴香, Ponkan/ポンカン, and New Summer Oranges are extremely popular.

Ponkan ready for harvest and delivery!

They do grow and experiment with other fruit such as loquats/biwa/琵琶!

Although great exposure to the sun and big differences of temperature between day and night are welcome, the wind isn’t!
To fend off the wind, Ryuusaku planted hedges of camelias/tusbaki/椿.
He likes them so much that he made a point to plant as many varieties as possible. He invited me to admire them next February!

They do also grow a lot of their own food, such as these shiitake mushrooms and string beans I was offered to take back home with a whole bunch of ponkan!

Since I have to make at least two more trips expect more pics and explanations!

Shiratori Orchard/白鳥農園
413-0304 Shizuoka Ken, Kamo Gun, Higashi izu Cho, Shirata, 1742
413-0304 静岡県賀茂郡東伊豆町白田1742
Tel./Fax: 0557-95-2083
Mobile phone: 090-7025-6659

Check their HOMEPAGE for orange varieties, prices and orders!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
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Shizuoka Agricultural Products from The Producers to the Gastronomic Table: Dinner at UZU

Organic vegetables shabu-shabu

Service: excellent, easy-going and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: very reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients, especially organic vegetables extensively used. Local sake. Home-made umeshu. Great shochu list.

Uzu has become the reference in the whole Shizuoka Prefecture when it comes to enjoy local ingredients of the highest quality in a Japanese Izakaya or Restaurant!

The “oyakata”/Chef, Mr. Yoshimura constantly scours the whole Prefecture for the best vegetables, meat, fish and fruit.
But he will neither scorn a great product if it is not from Shizuoka, especially shochu! But more than 90% of the food was grown, caught or raised in our plains, mountains and sea!
The overwhelming result of his enthusiasm is that he can please anyone whatever his/her gastronomic priorities.
A phone call beforehand will be enough to devise a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore meal!

As an example, let me describe what the four of us ordered there a couple of weeks ago. Do not forget we also had plenty of local sake/jizake/地酒!
The above picture features sashimi Shizuoka is particularly famous for:
-Katsuo/鰹/Bonito from Suruga Bay.
-Kinmedai/金目鯛/Splendid Alfonsino (interesting name in English!) from the Izu peninsula.
-Benimasu/紅鱒/Rainbow Trout raised in Fujinomya City at the foot of Mount Fuji!

Shamo Chicken/軍鶏 from Umegashima up the Abe River.
This dish solely consists of grilled or fried offal including shirako/白子/sperm sacs! Don’t worry, these morsels can be served only if they are super fresh and the chef has a special license!

Organic green tomatoes from Matsuki Biofarm in Fujinomiya City served as tempura!

Fried (enormous) lotus roots/renkon/蓮根 from Asabata/麻端 in Shizuoka City. So crunchy and satisfying!

Salad of organic mushrooms and broccoli from Matsuki Biofarm!

Organic Vegetables (from Matsuki Biofarm) Shabu Shabu!
Bear in mind this particular dish must be ordered at least 2 days in advance!

The Shabu Shabu is served with a great soup (can be ordered vegan!) in which you either dip or simmer the fresh vegetables to your liking!

Depending on the season and the ever-changing menu one can order organic salads such as above (I had it one month ago!) and many other delicacies!
Make a point of checking their homepage first (even if you don’t read Japanese, the pictures will give you a good idea of what’s in store for you!)

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00~23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

A Japanese Gardener’s Winter Preparations

Looking at my dear neighbor, Mr. Yoshizo Sugiyama’s garden this morning I realized that winter was about to fall on us in spite of the prevailing mild weather.
The telltale signs were the fruit and vegetables hung out to dry as the climate will turn very dry and cold enough for such a process.

I know he has a few persimmon/kaki/柿 trees in another plot he’s lent for some time.
Dried persimmons are a typical Japanese delicacy, and they certainly don’t come cheap on the market. It is definitely worth drying them yourself!
The persmmons are first peeled, then a twine is passed through them under their sepals before they are hung to dry.
The fruit will reduce to less than half their size and will be delicious with all their concentrated sugar!

The daikon of the same garden were being for takuan/沢庵 or Japanese pickled daikon!

In spite of their crazy shapes, these dailon will make excellent pickles.
They were first thoroughly washed before being hung.
Beside them you can also freshly hung persimmons and more that are almost completely matured into dry fruit.

The picture shows you how easy to hang the daikon.
Their heavy leaves are used as a counterweight with the result there is not need to secure them with twine.
After the daikon have dried to almost half their size they will be pickled for the whole winter!
The same picture shows you again the persimmons!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

Please check the new postings at:
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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/83): A Tale of Two Sakés Bento

I have called thios Bento “A Tale of Two Sakés because the salmon/鮭 had been dipped in Japanese saké/日本酒 !
Both salmon and sake are pronounced “saké” in Japanese!

The Missus was in a particulalry artistic mood this morning!LOL

Although the steamed rice is the same plain one, she seaoned it into two different manners, one with burdock root/gobou/牛蒡 chips and roasted black sesame seeds.
The salmon had been lightlly marinated before the Missus fried it and placed it on top of the rice.

The second part of the rice was topped with chopped pickled myoga ginger and “kingoma”/金胡麻/yellow roasted sesame seeds.
The home pickles are turnips and konbu seweed.

The Missus couldn’t help having a dig at me with her tamagoyaki! LOL

The salad part of the garnish included boiled brocoli and string beans with some red pimentoes, the whole seasoned with burdock root chips.
Plain tamagoyaki cut in a peculiar fashion….

More home-made pickles with carrot, radish and celery to accompany the lettuce.

For dessert imported grapes and Shizuoka-grown strawberries and ruby kiwis (“ruby”, not “rugby”!).

Plenty of colors and very tasty as usual!

Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Shimada City: a New Portal to Japan!

Horai Bridge

Ask Businessmen and tourists coming to Japan from China and Korea and they will answer the new starting venue in this country is Shimada City!
Shimada City? Where can that be? So many people in other celebrated metropolises will surely ask.

Shimada City is slightly away from the center of Shizuoka Prefecture which in turn lies in the very middle of Japan halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya, the most traveled portion of this country. But it all started with the advent of Shimada Airport, also called Mount Fuji-Shizuoka Airport, in 2009. You will understand why we see many Chinese and Korean visitors in this area when you realize planes daily land there directly form Seoul-Incheon and Shanghai-Pudong. In fact, it is faster and cheaper to travel from Shimada to Paris via Seoul-Incheon Aiport!

All that is fine, you might say, what brings all these visitors to that particular part of Japan? What does it has to offer to businessmen and tourists?
Well businessmen know that Shizuoka is the third richest Prefecture, GDP-wise, after Aichi and Kanagawa Prefectures (which incidentally follow each other along the Tokaido Road!), and that ought to be a good enough reason.
Alright, alright, businessmen also share more reasons to come with tourists!

Shimada City and its neighborhoods certainly have enough to warrant a serious visit and a longer stay than expected. After all, if you also come from Kyushu or Hokkaido you will appreciate to learn they are regularly serviced with direct flights from Mount Fuji-Shizuoka Airport.

Shimada tea fields

Shimada City being in the middle of Shizuoka prefecture finds itself in the heart of green tea country. It also has two railway stations, more precisely in Kanaya where you can board the Steam Locomotive for a beautiful trip along the Oigawa Main Line up to Senzu Hot Springs Resort across vast expanses of green tea fields bordering the Oi River. Do not forget to pay an enriching visit to the Tea Museum/Ocha No Sato in Kanaya!

Horai Bridge

The same Oi River was at its most difficult to cross in Shimada City along the Old Tokaido Road prompting the Meiji Government to build the (still) longest wooden bridge in the world, the Horai Bridge, in 1879. It is 897.4m long and 2.7m wide.
Not only it deserved to be walked across for a great vista but it also has the great merit to lead to vast green tea fields beyond a small mountain ridge along a lane dotted with statues of Seven Deities.

Obi Sword dancer

Every city worth its salt in Japan has a major festival to boast from.
Shimada City not only has one, but it is one of the so-called most unusual festivals in Japan!: the Shimada Obi Matsuri and its Daimyo Procession.
The 300-year old Daimyo Gyoretsu imitates the procession of a grand jumangoku (one hundred thousand koku, units of rice) daimyo, and a total of 250 marchers stretch over 500 meters. Particularly striking is the presence of oyakko who walk gracefully, carrying an obi for safe delivery of babies on the tip of a wooden sword.
The procession is held every three years, in the years of the tiger, snake, monkey and wild boar. It’s commemorated by a grand statue in case you cannot visit the city on time for the festival!

Oomuraya Brewery

Now that we have enough reasons to either choose Shimada as a practical entry portal to Japan for our business or a source of new hidden treasures, what about the communications, accommodations and gastronomy?

Communications are no problem at all as the Mount Fuji Shizuoka Airport is directly linked by bus to Shimada Tokaido Line Railway Stations and the Shinkasen/Bullet Train Stations in Hamamatsu, Kakegawa and Shizuoka Cities, all within 90 minutes of Nagoya and Tokyo. Moreover, a (free) parking lot for more than 1,000 cars, taxis and car rental companies are part of the facilities.

Accommodations should not be a worry either as the city has enough hotels of all grades, Western or Japanese style near and by the railway station.

As for gastronomy, the City is blessed with a celebrated Sake Brewery, Oomuraya Shuzo, whose brands “Onna Nakase” (“Make a Lady weep”), “Wakatake” (“Young Bamboo) and “Onigoroshi” (“Goblin-Killing”) are known as far as New York, Paris and London.
The presence of a great sake brewery means that the local Japanese Izakayas in particular are of a higher level. What with superlative marine products from nearby Suruga Bay and the extravagant abundance of vegetables (don’t forget the green tea!), there is plenty to please everyone, be they vegetarian, omnivores, drinkers or not!

Recommended Hotel:
Hotel Route Inn Shimada Ekimae, 427-0022 Shizuoka Ken, Shimada Shi, Hon Toori, 5-1-13, Tel.: (81)(0)547-37-0055, Fax: (81)(0)547-037-0065, http://www.route-inn.co.jp/search/hotel/index.php?hotel_id=48

Recommended Restaurant:
Setsugetsuka (Soba, menus to please both vegetarians and omnivores alike. Great sake!), (Closed on Mondays and third Tuesday), 427-0022 Shizuoka ken, Shimada Shi, Hon Toori, 2-3-4, Tel.: (81)(0)547-35-5241
http://www3.tokai.or.jp/soba-setugetuka/top.htm

Tea Museum/Ocha No Sato, (Closed on Tuesdays) Shizuoka Ken, Shimada Shi, Kanaya, 3053-2, Tel.: (81)(0)547-46-5588
http://www.ochanosato.com/

Oomuraya Sake Brewery (Closed on Sundays), 427-0022 Shizuoka ken, Hon Toori, 1-1-8, tel.: (81)(0)547-37-3058, Fax: (81)(0)547-37-7567
(Visits and tasting sessions for small groups possible upon reservation)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi