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!
The weather was not that great, what with fog and drizzle, but it was more comfortable than last year when it blazing hot!
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!
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!
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!
A real free fall, I can guarantee you!
Asami invites every time to ride down with her, and I refuse every time!
The rest of us just walk down.
Mind you, you do have to be fit and cautious!
Japanese cedars (cryptomeria) everywhere!
Walking past lone neighbors’ farmhouse!
We can stop at a nice little traditional farmhouse built by Asami’s late father!
In need we could stay there overnight!
Very traditional Japanese atmosphere!
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!
The baskets used for the harvest!
Asami and her younger sister plucking the trees under the drizzle!
The plums have to be picked just before they ripen, otherwise they will naturally and very quickly ferment!
Japanese plums are not edible raw, but are used to make umeboshi/salted plums, umeshu/ume sake, ume jam and so forth!
Harvest piling up!
Still not complete.
We must have harvested about 80 kg that day, although the crop was not impressive this year!
The only “monster” of the crop!
Once the crop finished we sorted it we put it on the “railway”!
It was time for lunch while the watermelon was cooling down!
Like last year I was the one in charge of cutting it!
Cleaning up and getting ready to climb back to the car park!
Asami starting the train and going ahead of us!
By then, it was almost pouring, but the mountain views were beautiful!
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
CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
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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
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Must-see tasting websites:
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HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City