Asabata District in Shizuoka City has been long known as a farming community area. It used to be mostly marshlands in the very far past but is now almost exclusively farmland.

I just cannot count the times I have leisurely cycled through that area. Even so I still make a lot of discoveries.
The other Sunday, as I had little to do, I thought of cycling again through that particular area.
That is when I found Aoi Farm just in front of a rehabilitation hospital.

There are many almost identical farms in the vicinity. But this one looked a bit different.

It was bleeding hot and the sharp sun prevented me from taking good shots.

“Please visit freely”, the sign said. I gladly obliged.
A lady was watering the fruit trees there.
“Good afternoon! May I take some pictures please?” I asked somewhat impertinently
“Please, do as you like!”
“Thank you so much!”

It was not all fruit trees but also flowers and all kind of decorative trees. All could be bought right away. Cypresses, Japanese maples and many trees I just was ignorant of their names.

What kind of pine is that…?

That’s a blueberry tree? No way! But that’s what the name tag says!
About time I politely introduced myself!
I returned to the lady and explained the “real reason” I came here. She was certainly caught by surprise and replied I’d better talk to her husband.
(Tell the truth I prefer interviewing ladies to gentlemen, whatever their age! LOL)

Let’s take a pic of those roses on the way…

Her husband went by the name of Takao Inaba.
A bit shy, he was nonetheless very kind and patient with me!
At the age of 62 he retired in 2007 from his “usual” farming job (that is, growing rice) and has been working on his orchard for 3 years now.

These big fruits are blueberries? Well, I didn’t want look stupid with more foolish questions, so I refrained from asking (LOL).

These look like blueberries!

Blueberries are the main culture, no less than 90 varieties.
-Really?
-Sure! But since our customers wouldn’t know even a few of them, I just strive on cultivating delicious ones…

Since this is a blueberry farm, let’s take more pics!

-What is the total area?
-900 tsubo (multiply this by 2.3 to convert into square metres)
-What kind of fertilizers do you use?
-That depends on the season, but I get all of them directly from the farmers’ Cooperative!

-Apart of blueberries, what do you mainly grow?
-Citrus varieties, especially mikan (mandarines).

More blueberries?

-Recently the weather has been quite unpredictable. Any problems?
-Plenty! The weather has indeed gone mad!

Blueberries as big as my thumb nail!

-Do you have any children?
-Sure, I do!
-Are they farming, too?
-No way! Impossible!
-Why is that?
-I would be able to pay tem only 200 yen (2 US$) an hour!

These blueberry trees are not for sale. Their fruit are sold at the Farmers’ Cooperative.

Takao Inaba, in spite of retiring, apparently had to continue working and I can guarantee you that at the age of 65 he is fighting hard!
He told me that he was feeling his age, but he was certainly far healthier than a lot of people of his age that I know! Life as a farmer might be tough, but it is healthy!

Are these dwarf apples?
I’ll have to ask during my next visit!

Aoi Farm
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Asabata, Akamatsu, 7
Business hours09:00~17:00
Holidays: Mondays & Tuesdays
Tel. 054-2459380(Home)

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