In Japan, like in any country worth its salt and name, you always need a little help from your friends. And when that applies to agriculture and farmers, it is simply vital!
Luckily enough, I’m blessed with this tireless lady friend, namely Mrs. Natsuko Koyanagi, the recognized leader of all those farmer housewives selling their produce at Agriroad in Shizuoka City!
When you realize that the community accounts for more than a hundred members, interviewing simply becomes a pleasure!
Last year she introduced me to this sweet ladyfarmer, Mrs. Jitsuko Ishihara who has a special fondness for zucchini, especially of the colourful round kind!
Sorry for the small pic, but it was taken last year, as the lady was busy up in the mountain harvesting tea with her husband tis morning!
But in the Shizuoka (and elsewhere in Japan) countryside you don’t need a key to open a fence. Natsuko gave her a call to inform her that that strange foreigner (-“You know, the Frenchman who loved your zucchini last year?”) wanted to have another look at those beautiful vegetables. -“Is it ok for us to visit your field/garden?”
-“No problem, you know the place! Thanks for taking hime around!”
Simple as that!
Since I have started writing these local agriculture articles for the prefectural government I intend to conduct a full interview of Mrs. Ishihara very soon!
Natsuko, having given me a ride to Yuyama, along the Abe River (a good 5 minutes ride. For once, I was happy to leave my bicycle!) we were soon trampling Mrs. Ishihara’s domain and taking pics.
Not a really easy task as you have to delve deep under those large leaves with insects buzzing in your eyes (we are in the middle of the reason!)
There was no way I could leave the place without a hoard of those little treasures…
-“Natsuko, could you please ask Mr. Ishihara if I can have some of these?”
Natsuko was soon talking over her mobile phone (at least one reason to welcome IT in farms, thus cutting distances to zero!”)
-“She says she’ll be glad to let you pick one of your choice back home!” (Sweet lady!)
-“No, I mean to buy 3 or 4 of them! Ask her if I may, and how much she wants for them!”
-“She says you can take 3 or 4 of them at 100 yen a piece (just over 1 US$)!”
-“But that’s ridiculously cheap (they would fetch 4 times as much in a supermarket) for a zucchini I need two hands to wrap them completely, and moreover fresh and of such a quality!”
Well, I did go away with my 4 beauties for a grand total of 400 yen! I tried to explain they would be served tonight at a friend’s izakaya who would be ready to the real price, but to no avail!
I will make sure my friends at Yasaitei in Shizuoka City know where these zucchini come from and answer their guests’ queries!
Do visit this great place, an institution here in Shizuoka Prefecture!
They will prepare and serve these zucchini according to your preferences, probably as tempura, steamed or fried with superb olive oil!
Can you see them?
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
Seating: 6 at counter + 20 at tables
Set Courses: 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 yen
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