Tag Archives: 果物

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Aoi Farm

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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Japanese Fruits 3: Pione Budou-Pione Grapes

PIONE1

SYNOPSIS:
There are a lot of fruit which either originated or grew to be characteristic of Japan.
I’m trying to introduce into this new series to help my vegan and vegetarian (I’m no) friends in particular as fruit can be adapted into so many ways!

1) Nashi/Asian Pear
2) Jirou Kaki/Jirou Persimmon

Grapes are relatively new to Japan, but its people have compensated this with an eye to create new strains with great success.

PIONE3
Pione Grapes are grown in aerial style.

Pione Grapes are a typical example.
They are a cross between Kyoho Grapes and Cannon Hole Muscat.
Kyoho grapes (巨峰葡萄) are hemselves a Concord-like cross (Vitis vinifera x Vitis labrusca) between Campbell and Centennial grape varieties.

Kyoho grapes were first produced in 1942 in Shizuoka Prefecture, but were not so named until 1946.

PIONE-MUSCAT
Pione Grapes compared to Muscat Grapes

Pione Grapes (ピオネ葡萄) were also first produced in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1957 by a farmer called Hideo Ikawa.
Pione is an Italian name.

PIONE2
Pione grape

Pione grapes are usually seedless, juicy and very sweet making them very versatile for all kinds of desserts:

PIONE-MOCHI
A typical Japnese dessert:
Pione Grape inside mochi!

PIONE-TART
Pione Tart!
Irresistible, isn’t it?

But Pione Grapes, especially their flesh in “Concasse” style can be used in salads:

PIONE-ORGANIC-MIZUNASU
A dream salad for vegans!
Pione Grapes flesh on organic “Mizu nasu”/Mizu egg plant sashimi.
This particular kind of (Japanese) egg plant is eaten raw.
A little pepper and voila!

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Japanese Fruits 2: Jirou Kaki-Jirou Persimmon

JIRO-KAKI1

SYNOPSIS:
There are a lot of fruit which either originated or grew to be characteristic of Japan.
I’m trying to introduce into this new series to help my vegan and vegetarian (I’m no) friends in particular as fruit can be adapted into so many ways!

1) Nashi/Asian Pear

Jirou kaki or Jirou Persimmons are not to be confused with “normal persimmons”, or heart-shaped Hachiya which is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins and are unpalatable if eaten before softening.

JIRO-KAKI-FALSE

Hachiya Persimmons

The astringency of tannins is removed through ripening by exposure to light over several days, wrapping the fruit in paper for heating it, and/or artificially with chemicals such as alcohol and carbon dioxide which change tannin into the insoluble form. This bletting process is sometimes jumpstarted by exposing the fruit to cold or frost which hastens cellular wall breakdown. These astringent persimmons can also be prepared for commercial purposes by drying.

JIRO-KAKI-TREE

The non-astringent persimmon, or Jirou kaki, is squat like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm to very very soft.

JIRO-KAKI-DRIED

Dried Jirou Persimmon

Actually, Jirou Kaki/Jirou Persimmons are the pride of our Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture, as they were first grown in 1844 by a farmer called Jiroushi Matsumoto in Mori-Cho, Western Shizuoka Prefecture!
Their trees were finally successfully raised in 1869.

JIRO-KAKI-JAM

Jirou Persimmon Jam

The persimmons were finally given their name, Jirou Kaki, by the Emperor of Japan upon his meeting with Fujitarou Suzuki (the grower of that time) in Mori-Cho where a Shinto Temple is still dedicated to the Emperor of Japan.

JIRO-KAKI-CAKES

In Shizuoka Prefecture, Jirou Persimmon are found under many guises such as cakes (above)

JIRO-KAKI-WINE

Jirou Persimmon wine!

JIRO-KAKI-VINEGAR

Jirou Persimmon vinegar, a rarity created by Bembei Kawamura, the Father of Shizuoka Sake!
It can drunk as a health drink mixed with with good wateror used as a finish on many dishes!

JIRO-KAKI-DRYING

Although I personally like them fresh either as dessert or in salads with vegetables, my favourite is dried persimmons, a big business in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Japanese Fruits 1: Nashi/Asian Pear

nashi1

Pyrus pyrifolia is a pear tree species native to China, Japan, and Korea. The tree’s edible fruit is known by many names, including: Asian pear, nashi or nashi pear, African pear, Japanese pear, Korean pear, Taiwan pear, sand pear, apple pear, bapple, papple, bae, li (Japanese: ナシ;Chinese: 梨; Korean: 배). In South Asia, the fruit is known as nashipati or nashpati.

nashi2

Pyrus pyrifolia is cultivated throughout East Asia, as well as in Australia, India , New Zealand, and other countries. It was recently grown successfully in France and is also sold under the name pf Nashi.

nashi3

Nashi pears are widely grown for their sweet fruit, a popular food in East Asia. They are sweet on the tree and are eaten crisp.

nashi4

Healthy salad!

Nashi pears generally are not baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the buttery European varieties. Also, Nashi pears are not as intensely sweet, having a more refreshing, light taste.

They are grown in various areas in Japan under different cultivar and brand names.

nashi5

Great salads!

I have the luck to be offered every summer a full box of them coming from Yaizu City where their brand name is “Shinsui”/新水. They are the perfect fruit for a hot summer and have far more value than a whole bottle of soda!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (29): Traditional Ingredients & Dishes

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a number of them were issued with Traditional Ingredients and Dishes as a theme:

TIMBRES-BEURRE
BEURRE/butter
Someone said that France is a muntain of butter in the middle of a lake of milk, a statement hotly disputed by Denmark!

TIMBRES-CREPE
CREPE
The word crepe apllies only for the sweet whet flour pancake. Its original meaning is “lace” as of a lace veil.
The buckwheat pancake is called “galette”.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-BOUILLABAISSE
BOUILLABAISSE
Oriinally a poor man/fisherman’s soup eaten with toasted bread has beome an extravagant “national” dish almost unrelated with the real one.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CALISSON
CALISSON
A traditional sweet from south France.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CASSOULET
CASSOULET
Created with beans originally from India. It takes four hours to cook it with beans, tomatoes and meat (pork, duck or goose) before being gratineed in an oven for at leat an hour.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-FOIEGRAS
FOIE GRAS
Made in different regions of France. originally mad with goose liver. I, for myself prefer duck foie gras!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-HUITRES
HUITRES/Oysters
Did you know that all oysters in France, except for the Belon variety either came from Great Britain or Japan?

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MOUTARDE
MOUTARDE/Mustard
Originally from the Middle East, it is mainly prepared in Dijon, my birthplace!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-PAIN
PAIN/Bread
Baguette is not French by the way. It was introduced by the Austrian Queen, marie-Antoinette!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POTAUFEU
POT AU Feu/Pot on the Fire
Has become universal!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-QUICHE
QUICHE LORRAINE
The original one, cooked with fresh cream, eggs and bacon only!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-RILLETTES
RILLETTES
made with lean pork and lard. Great, but careful with those calories!

TIMBRES-LECAFE

CAFES, the symbol of a lifestyle originally came from Austria!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (28): River Fish

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a number of them were issued with River Fish as a theme:

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSON-Saumon

SAUMON/Salmon

Of course most varieties of Salmo both live in the sea and in rivers.
In France, salmon fishing regulations are very strict and define the season when one can catch the fish, its minimum size and fishing area.
The French probably appreciate it most poached, and served cold with a jelly coating and mayonnaise either served whole or in medaillons/thick slices.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Brochet

BROCHET/Pike

Both caled the “King of Rivers” and the “River Shark”, its catches are also strictly regulated.
Most apprecated either poached and cold like salmon, or as quenelles/dumplings served hot in a gratineed bechamel sauce as made in Lyon!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Gardon

GARDON/Common Roach

Found in big schools in quiet rivers, it is a small cousin of the carp.
The French mostly appreciate it in small size, emptied, rolled into flour and deep-fried, served with lemon and a good glass of white wine or beer.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Perche

PERCHE/Perch=River Bass

here is a fish whose catching, except for the season, is practically not regulated as it tends to overpopulate rivers and lakes to the detriment of other fish.
Best appreciated as deep-fried filets served with lemon or tartatr sauce! Great with a solid beer!

Look forward to the next postings! There are plenty more!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (27): Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs

timbres-gastronomie-2

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a great number of them were issued with edible Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs as a theme:

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-CANNEASUCRE

CANNE A SUCRE/Sugarcane
France produces a lot of its brown sugar from sugarcanes grown in the West French Indies and African Islands in the Indian Ocean.

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-POMMEDETERRE

POMME DE TERRE/Potatoes.
France was comparatively late in Europe adopting this particular vegetable.

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-THYME

THYM/Thyme
What would the French do witout it?

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-AWARA

AWARA
Exclusively grown in French Guyana/Guyanne.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CASSIS

CASSIS
Cassis is mainly grown and poduced in Dijon, my birthplace!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CHATAIGNE TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CHATAIGNE-b

CHATAIGNE/Chestnuts
For a long time, in many rural areas of France, chestnuts provided the flour for bread!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-LENTILS

LENTILLES/Lentils
Originally coming from Indian, the green small ones are the best!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MIRABELLE TIMBRES-MIRABELLE

MIRABELLES
At one time almost extinct, they are evrywhere to be found in early Autumn!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MYRTILLE

MYRTILLE/Blueberry
Used in making jams and also spirits!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-OLIVE TIMBRES-OLIVEOIL

OLIVES-HUILE D’OLIVE/Olives and Olive Oil
Grown in Provence mainly!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POMME

POMMES/Apples
Make for great Cider and Pommeau! (and cakes!)

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-QUETSCHE

QUETSCHE/Plums
What I would give for a tart of them!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-SALICORNE

SALICORNE
A very rare vegetable/plant growing in salted waters!
Great as pickles!

Look forward to the next postings! There are plenty more!

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