Category Archives: Organic Agriculture

Organic Japanese Plums Harvesting in Higashimine, Shizuoka City, with Marufuku Seicha Co.!

Last Sunday Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん, the young owner/manager of Marufuku Tea Company/丸福製茶株式会社 in Shizuoka City invited once again to participating to the harvest of organic Japanese Plums/Ume/梅 in her family-owned land up in the mountains of Shizuoka City!

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The weather was not that great, what with fog and drizzle, but it was more comfortable than last year when it blazing hot!

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Higashimine/東峰 is up in the mountains of Shizuoka City along the Abe River, not far from Umegashima.
It does take some time to reach it by car, but the trip itself is a joy whatever the weather with all the grand unadulterated views along the way!

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There is even a small ancient Shinto Shrine to look after you there, at 1,000 meter altitude where the highest tea fields in Japan can be found!

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It is a very steep way down from there but Japanese farmers are well equipped with these gasoline driven “mountain tracks” to carry heavy equipment and crops!

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A real free fall, I can guarantee you!

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Asami invites every time to ride down with her, and I refuse every time!

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The rest of us just walk down.
Mind you, you do have to be fit and cautious!

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Japanese cedars (cryptomeria) everywhere!

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Walking past lone neighbors’ farmhouse!

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We can stop at a nice little traditional farmhouse built by Asami’s late father!
In need we could stay there overnight!

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Very traditional Japanese atmosphere!

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The field in front of the house with many old plum trees which haven’t seen any fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides for the last 25 years!
The place is regularly invaded by wild boars, monkeys, civets, deer and even bears!
They will not show up with all the noise we make, but we do have to look out for the occasional leech!

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The baskets used for the harvest!

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Asami and her younger sister plucking the trees under the drizzle!

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The plums have to be picked just before they ripen, otherwise they will naturally and very quickly ferment!

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Japanese plums are not edible raw, but are used to make umeboshi/salted plums, umeshu/ume sake, ume jam and so forth!

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Harvest piling up!

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Still not complete.
We must have harvested about 80 kg that day, although the crop was not impressive this year!

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The only “monster” of the crop!

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Once the crop finished we sorted it we put it on the “railway”!

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It was time for lunch while the watermelon was cooling down!

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Like last year I was the one in charge of cutting it!

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Great dessert!

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Cleaning up and getting ready to climb back to the car park!

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Asami starting the train and going ahead of us!

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By then, it was almost pouring, but the mountain views were beautiful!

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See you there again next year!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Owner: Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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Organic and Natural Agriculture with Mentally-impaired Patients at “Workshop Leaf “in Shizuoka City (2)!

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Organic green peas!

Shizuoka City is very active with the welfare of mentally and physically impaired children, and consequently adults, because it is the location of one of the only two “Children Hospitals” in Japan.
It is also very much used as research center or “test case” to find ways to make life easier for such patients.
The fact that Shizuoka City has a mild climate all year through was played an important role in choosing and equipping such a location. But children eventually have to leave hospitals and be looked after in special institutions.
One such institution is Workshop Leaf in Kita, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.

They came up with the idea of creating a garden under the leadership of young Ryoji Takeda/武田良治さん to grow organic and natural vegetables in 2009.
JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard/日本農林規格) gave them recognition as an organic agriculture farm in September 2014.

Yesterday was my second visit and I brought along a good friend, Ms. Hiromi Hasegawa/長谷川浩美さん who was very much interested in acquiring their products, especially leaf vegetables and herbs, for her establishment, La Sommeliere in Miyuki-Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!!

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Organic potatoes and more green peas!

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Organic garlic!

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Hiromi San and I were particularly interested in these fennel heads, very difficult to obtain on the Japanese market!

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Natural agriculture Swiss chard!
Ryoji San had let these overgrow as he intends to use their seeds!

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The fennel were really beautiful and they are just ready for harvest!
The whole plant is edible and can be cooked in so many ways!

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A grand view of both gardens!
They will be soon be full of greenery!

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Hiromi San with her harvest!
But she already has her eyes on some other treasures impossible to find in local markets!

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No wonder a lot of people use Swiss chard as decorative plants!

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Of course Ryoji san gave us a lift to visit his small greenhouse at the foot of the local mountains to show Hiromi San where the dried herbs she had also acquired came from!

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These tomato seedlings will become another temptation!

Next visit and more vegetables soon!

WORKSHOP LEAF

420-0961 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kita, 3-18-37
Opening hours: 08:30~17:30
Closed on week ends
Tel.: 054-248-2705
E-mail address: wa-kushoppu@cy.tnc.ne.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Organic and Natural Agriculture with Mentally-impaired Patients at “Workshop Leaf “in Shizuoka City (1)!

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Shizuoka City is very active with the welfare of mentally and physically impaired children, and consequently adults, because it is the location of one of the only two “Children Hospitals” in Japan.
It is also very much used as research center or “test case” to find ways to make life easier for such patients.
The fact that Shizuoka City has a mild climate all year through was played an important role in choosing and equipping such a location. But children eventually have to leave hospitals and be looked after in special institutions.
One such institution is Workshop Leaf in Kita, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.

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They came up with the idea of creating a garden under the leadership of young Ryoji Takeda/武田良治さん to grow organic and natural vegetables in 2009.
JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard/日本農林規格) gave them recognition as an organic agriculture farm in September 2014.

I finally visited the for the first time thanks to the help of my friend Nahoko Imai今井奈保子さん who runs a Fair Trade associated shop called Teebom in Sumpu Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City (report coming soon!) where she sells some of their products

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Organic herb tea.

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Black and brown rice recognised as Eco farm products by the Shizuoka Prefecture Government.

Workshop Leaf does not only .produce agricultural products but also Japanese paper/Washi/和紙 and some reaaly cute dye cloths (another report coming soon!)!

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Adult patients living in Workshop Leaf are severely mentally impaired and need constant care.
Among their occupations is farming under constant supervision. They seemed very calm and attentive to me in spite of their obvious impairments. I’m convinced such a natural outdoors occupation contributes to their well-being.

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The farming is divided into two distinct projects, one organic and the other”natural”, that is done with no fertilizer, pesticides or even water.
The fertilizers used for the organic cultivation are basically organic matter matter including chicken manure, other animal manure and kurosekkai/黒石灰/black Calcium cyanamide.

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Organic leeks.

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Green peas.

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Cabbages.

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Nahoko Imai and Ryoji Imai inspecting the “natural” fields.

As for the natural farming, fields are only covered with rice husks to protect them.

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The original soil has been mixed with fine bamboo chips to help the natural breakdown of soil into a rich bed for vegetables. Interestingly enough insects hate such a soil thus making the use of pesticide obsolete.
I do recognize I need to explain in more detail such a cultivation but I don’t want to write mistakes and in any case this article is the first one of a monthly visit, therefore expect more details in the near future not only about the life in Workshop Leaf but also about their cultivation!

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Natural cultivation carrots!

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Appetizing natural carrots!

Actually I talked at length about the marketing of such agricultural products. Some local restaurants are already buying them and I plan not only to suggest other plant species but also introduce the farm to more local restaurants and chefs!

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Natural farming turnips.

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Natural farming fennel.

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Natural farming artichokes.

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Natural farming Swiss chard.

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They do need to expand and already have another small field and a green house.

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Inside view of the green house especially used for herbs!

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More carrots.

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Mint.

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Coriander.

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Violet daikon in the field nearby.

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Big red radishes in the field nearby.

More coming next month!

WORKSHOP LEAF

420-0961 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kita, 3-18-37
Opening hours: 08:30~17:30
Closed on week ends
Tel.: 054-248-2705
E-mail address: wa-kushoppu@cy.tnc.ne.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City