Category Archives: Organic Vegetables

Organic Gardening in Shizuoka City 1

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The first plot as it has been for the last 15?20? years!

September 22nd 2013

I have just started helping a friend of mine, Asami Itoh/伊東麻美さん, the youngish (gentlemen, she is still eligible!) president and owner of Marufuku Tea Factory and CHA-O Tea Processing Company, with a project up in the mountains in Umegashima, Shizuoka City.
She wants to start the cultivation of organic herbs in particular in view to blend them later with her company’s organic tea for a more extensive market research.
Her father had bought land a long time ago at the altitude of 1.000 meters where he buit a house I have previously described in a recent article about organic Japanese plums.

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It takes a good hour by car to reach the spot at 1,000 meters at the very end of the road where you are greeted by a minuscule Shinto Shrine.

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The sign says “1,000 meters, the highest tea fields in Japan!”

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The red color is arguably the most used color for Shinto Shrines which are found in far more places than Budhist Temples especially in rural Japan!

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This “Torii/鳥居/Bird Gate”, for all its small size is remarkable for the fact that the top beam was made with the bottom part of a tree to show a pointed horn at its tip! Very rare actually! The whole portal was created by with logs sawed by the small log company just a few meters away!

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for the people interested with such facts, the name of the shrine is called “Inari Dai Myoujin/稲荷大明神”!
“Inari” is also the name of a sushi. Can you guess why? “Ina” means “rice” and it was offered inside rice straw balls at such shrines to pray for bountiful crops whose shape has been copied to make inari sushi!

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This very spot is heavens for photography buffs!

SN3O4806take a zoom with you to catch to the different grey hues of the mountain reminding you of a Chinese ink painting!

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From there it is precipitous walk down a narrow mountain lane or along a rail if you want to carry down/up heavy baggage. The city has finally decided to build a winding road down to Itoh’s house and a couple a farms on higher ground. The problem is that during the works which mike take as long as 3 years we will have to come down another more circuitous route….

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The house!
A lot inquiries for rent regularly reach Asami who is certainly not interested.
There is still a lot of work and cleaning inside although the toilets, bathroom and kitchen are working. Next year will see a lot of trash being taking away. Very hard work in prospect!

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The “field” in front of the house.
This is work for next year as we concentrate on the plot just in front of the house for the moment.
The field actually comprises all the organic Japanese plum trees we harvest very year to make umeshu, umeboshi and other preserves.
The field is full of fern these days, but these can be harvested in late spring as “warabi/蕨市/bracken, brake or common bracken, also known as “eagle fern”, a very popular mountain vegetables in Japan.
Asami already has to contend with wild monkeys, boars, deer, civets and even bears, but she discovered that people came regularly every year to steal those warabi. Picking some for your consumption is not much of a problem and she would welcome such unauthorized visitors, but the “thieves” go away with full crops! Don’t be surprised if some local supermarkets cannot tell you the origin of their warabi!
Talking of the animals (including humans?) we will have to erect light net fences during the winter to protect the japanese plum trees we will also have to prune (no pun intended!). We are also thinking of othe mountain vegetables crops for that field, too, but we will have to provide it some extra soil first!

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But first we have to deal with that 8 m2 plot (maybe small but perfect for research and trials) left unattended for the last 20 years.
At least the whole property has seen any agrichemicals or pesticides for the same period of time!

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I had to use the available traditional tools to dig up the deep-rooted grass and weeds.
We will come with more modern utensils in 2 weeks time!

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The temperature is still around 30 degrees even now and I can tell you this slow sweaty hard work! The soil being very dry does not make the digging up any easier!

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During that time Asami was ridding the field barbecue from weeds, ants and what else, not to mention all the bricks inside and and outside had to be taken out for better access and cleaning. I hard a time convincing her not to break the whole contraption!

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It was certainly worth it!

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Done at last!
Asami plans to grow mint, thyme, lemon balm, lemon grass and basil among other herbs but this will have to wait until early spring.
First I will have to sift the stones out of the soil in two weeks’ time (we plan to visit the place every two weeks at the beginning, which is sufficient providing that the fields are protected with netting).
Next in 4 weeks time I will mix in organic red soil, organic lime, organic fertilizer and oragnic vegtable/herb soil, cover the whole with a tarp and leave it ferment for the whole winter!

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It is already starting to look better!
See you again there in two weeks time!
We hope to bring along a friend or two next time to help with the work and to share a couple beers (Asami does not drink and she doesn’t mind driving us around!)!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
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)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Itoh Organic Project
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umegashina, Higashi Mine (Do not send letters yet as there is no post box!)

RECOMMENDED LINKS FOR ROOF GARDENING

Containerized: My Garden Blog
Gardens by Mike Palmer (Dorchester, England)
Best New York Gardening Blogs
Battery Rooftop Garden Blog (UK)
Green Roof Growers (Chicago)
Mitsukoshi Roof Top Garden – Ginza by Tokyobling’s Blog
NYCFARMER’S BLOG
The Tattooed Gardener
Town and Country Gardening
My Botanical Garden by Tamara
My Food and Flowers
Vienna Roof Garden
Leaf and Twig
Ekostories by Jack Yuen
My Food And Flowers
The Japans
Photography Art Plus
LOSTINTHOT
Spy Garden

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: 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!
-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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Umeshu: Umeshu with Organic Plums Harvested in Shizuoka City!

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The other day I received a phone call a phone call from my good friend, Ms. Asami Itoh who just succeeded in her father’s steps as the new president and owner of Marufuku Tea Factory in Shizuoka City. She is a very busy lady as she is also active in producing tea bags at her other venture, CHA-O Company.

She was inviting me to join her and her sister, Aya, in the harvesting of organic Japanese plums growing on trees inside a property that her family owns up in the mountains in Umegashima!

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Although Umegashima is located inside Shizuoka City, it took us more than an hour of driving up the mountains away from civilization up to a point located at 1000 meters altitude where the road ended in front of a small Shinto Shrine!

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At that very spot you will discover the highest altitude green tea fields in Japan!

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From there we had to walk down a precipitous lane for about 15 minutes while Asami was carrying down the necessary equipment on a rail cart that most farmers use in Shizuoka Prefecture where a lot of agriculture is conducted on the sheer slopes across the Japanese Southern Alps.

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We soon reached a Japanese traditional farm house that Asami’s father had completely refurbished. I just can’t imagine how they brought up all this wood, pillars, rafters, beams and whatever else in that spot completely isolated from car roads!
But the house itself is already worth the expedition. I can imagine many of my artist and writer friends falling in love with this abode away from everything where mobile phones don’t work, although the place is equipped with electricity, gas, toilets and bathroom!

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Safety lamps in case of a blackout!

The place contains a mountain of antiques gathered over the year by Asami’s father and I can guarantee you that the place is safely locked away. What with intruders regularly stealing valuable mountain vegetables growing on the property!

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There is plenty of room for sleeping but this hammock just feels great in the heat of summer! Incidentally it snows up there in winter!

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Japanese antique tansu/箪笥/chest!

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More authentic antique tansu!

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Antique rice straw rain gear!

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A real Japanese antique irori/囲炉裏sunken hearth!

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Even the stairway and hand rail are antiques!

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An array of authentic antique kokeshi dolls/コケシ all signed up by artists!

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The three of us spent a good 4 hours harvesting Japanese plums overhead as the lower branches ahd been eaten out by wild deer!
I made a mistake not to wear boots in the muddy ground and I was beaten by a leech! Yes, a leech at 1000 meters altitude!

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We first dropped the plums into individual wicker baskets secured around the waist.

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There were (unfortunately inedible) mushrooms everywhere!

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Japanese plums are best harvested just before they start changing color!

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Naturally the crop was carried up to the small car park via the rail tractor!

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Apparently this year’s crop was not very good but we must have collected 50 kg of them!

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Although I was asked to take more with me I was allowed to choose enough of the bigger ones to bring back home to make umeshu.
Usually people use cheap white liqueur and koorizato/crystal sugar, last year I made them with local shochu, sake and koorizato, but this time I used only sweet potato shochu and a bottle of the only mirin/sweet sake made in Shizuoka Prefecture by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City!

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You will not find such an extravagant umeshu in any shop!

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I still had enough left for Dragon (my worse half!) to make (from left to right): plums in fruit vinegar and honey, plum soy sauce and white wine umeshu!

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She even made plum chutney!

Looking forward to tasting this great umeshu in winter. And of course it will be a rare treat to eat or use the plums in recipes!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
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)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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 Vegetables Salad at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City!

Service: Excellent and very friendly.
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Superb washroom (mouthwash and toothpicks provided!)!
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expensive, very good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables and Shizuoka-bred meat.

Spring is very near and vegetables have become sweet for all the cold weather we had to put up with, which just shows that nature is still making us favors!
It is always a pleasure to savor a whole salad of them for a “quick lunch” at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City, a restaurant which plays a major role in making them known to all!

I took a “sneak review” of the vegetables on offer in the kitchen as I came late enough not to disturb any guests!

All organic vegetables!

Vegetables mainly come from Shizen no Chikara Farm in Shizuoka City, Kitayama Farm in Fujinomiya City and Hirokawa Farm in Mishima City!

But while Chef Touru Arima/有馬亨さん was busy preparing my order I was served a succulent and hot organic kabocha potage!

The salad!

Sometimes I experience almost more pleasure taking photographs than actually eating these little treasures!

Vegetable flan/pudding, the only non-vegetarian/vegan elemnt in the salad. If you are vegetarian, this should be no problem, just tell the chef!

And the dressings are always such superb finisihing touches!

To be continued…

PISSENLIT

420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
E-Mail: pissenlit2008@ybb.ne.jp
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm: Visit by “47 Japanese Farms” in Shizuoka City!

Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 of Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm explaining his craft to Roshni Nirody and Sara Harriger of the U.S. Department of State

Ms. Roshni M. Nirody (from New Jersey) and Ms. Sara Harriger (Alaska) employed by the U.S. Department of State working for the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese language and Area Training Center at the U.S. Embassy in Japan paid us a visit in Shizuoka City!
Not only these young ladies speak very good Japanese on top of their native language but even more languages, a undisputable proof of their ability for their jobs!
They have initiated their own grand three and a half year project at 47 Farms to examine Japanese agriculture through interviews and working farm stays with farmers in each of Japan`s 47 prefectural entities!
Read more HERE, it is certainly worth a very long look!
To cut a story short they contacted me as they wanted to discover what Shizuoka Farms had in store for them!
Actually Shizuoka does have a lot, but to make easier for their first visit I and a staff at M2 labo decided to take them to new but already very influential Organic Farm in Shizuoka City and Prefecture called Shizen No Chikara Farm.

Organic Tomatoes!

Shizen No Chikara Farm has plots in Sena, Shimo, Nippon Daira and many others in the Prefecture.
We took them to Sena where the man in charge, Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 was kind enough to explain his crafts and answer quite a few very pointed questions from our lady guests!

All the cultivation is organic in the strict sense with no insecticides, or any agrichemicals.
The insects are fought off with natural repellents concocted by the farmers, catch fly sticky tapes or with natural enemies such as ladybugs!

Temperature and humidity are constantly checked and monitored!

For the moment they grow five varieties of tomatoes there!

These will go to the top restaurants in the Prefecture!

Now, Shizen No Chikara succeeded a very difficult organic cultivation at their first attempt: strawberries!

The strawberries are not allowed to come in contact with the floor or soil!
No need to mention this is all daily back-breaking work!

The greenhouse has its own beehive!

Even the beehive is kept super clean!

The bees are vital for a regular pollination and beautiful berries!

Organic mini daikon!

We then proceeded to the plot in Shimo to have a look at the their root and leaf vegetables!

Row of mini daikons!

Komatsuna left to look after their harvested rows!

Hosonegi/scallions/mini leeks!

Leeks are great to fight common colds!

Big white daikons!

Japanese gastronomy wouldn’t exist without these!

Beautiful radishes and turnips just harvested!

The same in their rows!

This visit was all too short for my own satisfaction and I already have invited our sweet visitors to come again as soon as possible!
I’m already planning visits to Numazu and Fujinomiya Cities!
Our two ladies are not only lovers of agriculture but also gastronomes. I have a few breweries and izakayas in mind for them!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shiitake Mushrooms Cultivation without Agrochemicals: Shizuo Nanjyo in Shizuoka City!

It is never too late to become conscious of health and to contribute to its betterment!
I did not enquire about his age but Shizuo Nanjyo is definitely my elder but he has never lost his enthusiasm and belief when it comes to insure a healthy product of the highest quality.
A second-generation tea grower for 58 years but a first-generation shiitake mushroom grower for 50 years he decided to get away from the beaten tracks this year and assume not only the cultivation but also the marketing of his shiitake mushrooms.

Logs to be used for shiitake cultivation.

I finally managed to pay him a visit thanks to my good friend Asami Ito who kindly drove me all the way up the Abe River in Shizuoka City into the middle of wasabi and green tea land (mountains) in Do District.

Mr. Nanjyo grows his shiitake in a large greenhouse in a very clean environment without the use of any agrochemicals to ensure the heath and safety of his products.

As a further proof of his attention to health he had the government survey his crop and give him a certificate stating that his mushrooms are radioactivity free!

Insects and pests are taken care of with sticking tape traps (can you see the yellow pieces overhead?)
The wood logs come from kunugi/椚/Sawtooth Oaks (90%) and nara/楢/Japanese Oak from neighbouring Yamanashi Prefecture.

Logs are first inoculated with shiitake mushroom mycelium (also from Yamanashi Prefecture).

The logs are then soaked into clean water to help the mycelium to spread inside the log.

When the first tiny mushrooms start appearing the logs are then stacked and stored outside for 6 months.

They are protected from the sun, rain and big temperature gaps with reeds imported all the way from lake Biwa!
What about that for ecology!
Vinyl sheets are ineffective as they don’t allow air drafts and actually negatively help the temperature to rise under them.
This type and method of cultivation is only a return to traditional farming after all!
Logs are used for 4 years and then will be sent to specialized companies who will turn them into compost or sawdust for effective recycling.

When the logs are ready for fructification Shizuo will then move them inside the greenhouse kept at a regular temperature of around 25 degrees between October and May. Each log will be dated to know exactly when the mushrooms will be ready for harvest.

After that it is a question of timing as some customers want their mushrooms small,…

Others larger…

Shizuo kindly offered me to choose mine from those beauties as a souvenir!

Actually, I was still very busy talking with the kind producer about farming in general and Asami kindly picked some (plenty!) for me (in her left hand!), but Shizuo would not let me go without accepting an even bigger bunch of them (in Asami’s right hand!)!

Not only that, but I also ended up with two succulent daikon and a truly enormous cabbage from their personal garden!

Their garden is very popular as they have to protect it with a double netting to fend off monkeys, wild boars and deer which regularly pay an unwelcome visit to farms in the mountains!

It was only natural to put all these beautiful super fresh mushrooms to good use and bring plenty of them to Yasaitei Izakaya to be served and introduced to customers!

There is no better way to advertise great produce than having them served at once to happy gastronomes by knowledgeable chefs!

Shizuo Nanjyo, Shiitake Grower
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Do, 504-2
Tel.: 054-298-2155
Individual orders welcome
Mr. Nanjyo’s shiitake mushrooms will also be on sale every Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 from December 11th at the car park of Marufuku Tea Company, Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, 112.
Fpr more details call Ms. Asami Ito: 0120-36-4188

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Where to eat locally grown organic vegetables in Shizuoka City

Salad of organic vegetables from Bio Farm at Uzu

It is one thing to know that Shizuoka Prefecture is getting deserved fame for the quality and variety of its vegetables all year round and especially organic vegetables, but it is another to know where, or more precisley in which restaurants, to savour them in good company.
We are presently blessed with three restaurants in Shizuoka City (still looking for more in the whole Prefecture!) which not only serve them but can arrange full vegetarian and vegan meals on request!

UZU

Deep-fried organic potatoes from Bio Farm

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 is arguably the best Izakaya in the whole Prefecture having won accolades from its peers, national medias and gastronme writers.
Although they serve all kinds of food, vegetarian and omnivores, they make organic vegetables their specialty. Most of them are grown at Matsuki Bio Farm in Shibakawa, Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji.

Check their homepage as they update it as the menu changes, which is almost everyday as they serve only seasonal food.

UZU-4

Vegetables Shabu shabu

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)

———————

TETSUYA SUGIMOTO

Ranking
Service: Highly professional and friendly
Equipment: Great overall cleanliness. Beautiful washroom
Prices:~
Strong points:Freshest produce and ingredients only, mainly from Shizuoka Prfecture. Organic vegetables. Seasonal food only

Map (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

If you happen to visit Shizuoka City, you will find many restaurants and izakayas serving and mainly using produce/products and ingredients from Shizuoka Prefecture. There are many treasures to be discovered in this hoard!
One of them is the French restaurant going by the name of Sugimoto Tetsuya!

If you can read Japanese you will know what is waiting for you inside!
A gastronomic paradise in Shizuoka Prefecture!
Mr. Sugimoto does everything by himself: chef, waiter and entertainer! This is real slow food in its true and best meaning!
Almost all ingredients are from Shizuoka Prefecture, be they vegetables, fruit, meat or fish!
But his specialty is organic vegetables from Shizuoka Prefecture!
I requested that particular dish to feature only produce for Shizuoka Prefecture only.

All these were organic vegetables grown by different farmers in Hamamatsu City.
The dish included egg-plants/aubergines, 3 varieties of zucchini, tomato and “manganji” Chili pepper.

To give you an idea how Mr. Sugimoto works, all vegetables were first sauteed separately and cooked in the oven before served with two different dressings:
-Olive oil and orange juice
-Framboise/raspberry vinegar

Tetsuya SUGIMOTO
420-0038 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umeya,, 2-13,1F
Tel./Fax: 054-251-3051
Opening hours:11:30~14:30,17:30~21:30
Holidays: undecided
Cedit cards OK
HOMEPAGE

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PISSENLIT

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
no-smoking-logoentirely non-smoking!

Great food is great food!
Be you vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, one can only appreciate and being thankful for savouring vegetables not only of the best quality, but local and organically grown to boot!
I will never tire of saying to everyone how lucky we are here in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, a region renown nationally and increasingly internationally for its exceptional gastronomy!

Pissenlit, with Uzu and Tetsuya Sugimoto is is generally considered as one of the “Shizuoka City Triumvirate” when it comes to healthy, local and sublime gastronomy.
Chef Tooru Arima has many contacts in the Prefecture and it is always a good idea what’s available as it can change very quickly. He is particularly fond of oraganic vegetables grown by Mr. Hideyaki Hirokawa in Mishima City

Even if I have nurtured a special relation with chef Tooru Arima (and many others), he he is only too happy to oblige with his custon\mers’ selfish requests!

The above is a sample of the greens grown by Mr. Hirokawa!

And these the other organic vegetables grown by the same farmer!

If you have the occasion to visit Mishima City this is the address of our great farmer!

Mr. Hideyaki Hirokawa, Mishima City, Kawaharagaya Yamada, 765
Tel.: 055-973-2702

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

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LOCOMANI

Service: Very friendly although a bit shy!
Equipment: Great overall cleanliness
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Vegetarian menus. Healthy rice flour cakes.
Completely non-smoking!

If I had a friend asking me where he/she could eat vegetarian food without a hassle all year round in Japan, I would be proud to say: Shizuoka (Prefecture and City!)!
These days, because of the heat and the necessity to keep healthy (read: lose weight) I tend to fall back on restaurants which serve such food especially in Shizuoka City although I might have to look in the whole Prefecture seriously. Actually, this article initiates a series of articles on healthy Vegetarian Lunches!

All conditions were set today for a visit to Locomani where I hadn’t eaten for almost 3 months.
I checked their wholly vegetarian meal on their menu and this is what they served me:
Look at the top picture for the whole set!

Vegetable and tofu miso soup and 3-year old organic tea.

Bowl of rice. Half of the rice was plain white while the other half was genmai/whole rice. The whole was sprinkled with kuromai/black rice.

The plate consisted of:
1) Boiled kabocha pumpkin and konyaku/elephant’s foot tuber jelly.

2) Fresh chopped vegetables salad and its vinegar-based dressing.

3) Two typical Japanese side dishes consisting of one, a lukewarm mixture of kiriboshi daikon (daikon strips first dried then cooked again in dashi), thinly cut carrots, shiitake and tofu karaage/deep-fried tofu sheets, and the other of lightly boiled spinach in soy sauce-based dressing.

4) Tempura.
The tempura was made without eggs and comprised koyadofu/pressed tofu with a batter containing small bits of herbs and vegetables, broccoli, okra and string beans.

For once I managed to keep away from their cakes!

To be followed…

LOCOMANI
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo, 1-10-6
Tel.: 054-260-6622
Closed every Wednesday and one Monday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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STILL LOOKING AROUND!

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RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Akihiro Matsushita: Organic Sake Rice Grower in Fujieda City!

Akihiro Matsushita/松下明弘, Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎!

Akihiro Matsushita is a true pioneer!
No less than 17 years ago he decided to grow all his rice organically, a revolution at the time that did not please many people in the very closed world of Japanese farming!
Fortunately things have changed since then…

15 years ago Akihiro contacted Densaburou (Sake Brewmaster’s name) Aoshima of Aoshima Sake Brewery in Fujieda City to aks him if he would be interested in creating sake with truly organic rice. Densaburou is also a true pioneer in his own closed Japanese sake world who gladly accepted the challenge.
And it certainly was a challenge!

Aoshima Brewery in Fujieda City! Kikuyoi/喜久酔 is their main brand name!

I’ve known Densaburou for quite some time now, and the fact he speaks fluent English does help when I introduce him to foreign fans of his nectars!

Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二, Ryohei Miyake/三宅良平 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎
Whatever the occasion, this is Japan, and nothing will start before business cards have been exchanged!

The fact I know quite a lot of people in the Japanese sake world in Shizuoka Prefecture even helps with my Japanese friends and colleagues.
Before meeting Akihiro Matsushita in his farm, Yuuji Miyamata, the man in charge of the development of Homare Fuji Sake Rice in Yaizu City and Ryohei Miyake, an official from the Shida Haibara Agriculture and Forestry Bureau joined me to visit Densaburou at his brewery as we were all going together to Akihiro’s place. Densaburou does not use the Homare Fuji Sake Rice in his brews but he entertains warm relations with all people concerned with the sake business in his region.

Akihiro is a shy gentleman who will nonetheless quickly open and talk passionately about his trade.
And you certainly need to be passionate and extremely knowledgeable to convince people in one of the most conservative regions of Japan!

Keeping his own fields separated from non-organic growers is no longer a problem, but it was open conflict when he started his venture. He does not remember how many times he had to clean his own fields of mountains of rubbish thrown into them during the night…
But since then Akihiro has been recognized and accepted as a true grower as amply proved by his JAS Organic Grower Recognition and his Shida EM Organic Agriculture Association Chairmanship!

Not only his fields, but surrounding areas have to be kept clean of any chemicals and unwanted materials.
Even so, rice growing within a few meters of the perimeter of his fields will not be sold or used!

Yamada Nishiki, the most famous sake rice variety in Japan! The grains will appear end of August!
The soil being part of the Ooigawa River bed is sandy. The same sand is river sand formed by the constant rubbing of stones.

A single look at the water and soil will tell you this is organic environment with all these bugs and snails!
Akihiro and Densaburou had once thought of ducks to keep their fields clean of bugs. Unfortunately the local stray cats put an end to the trials!

Although Mr. Miyata’s field is not concerned with Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice, his expertise is always welcome!

Akihiro’s fields of organic sake rice and those or normal edible organic rice occupy a lot of land here and there. I asked him if he would be interested in exporting some. He replied that he wouldn’t have enough land to do so! An unequivocal proof of his peers’ and customers’ recognition!

Everyone soon forgot me so passionate their discussions had become!

For all his extremely busy life, Akihiro still finds enough time for constant research: organic black rice!

This passion and thirst for new solutions just proves that Japan and its people, for all the cataclysms that regularly visit them, might bend now and again but will never break like the stalks of their rice!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery