Tag Archives: 清水区

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Naitoh Fig Orchard in Okitsu

“With the present changes in climate my neighbors are joking that we might have to think of growing pineapples soon!” Mr. Yoshihiko Naitoh told me while driving me from Okitsu Station to his orchard up in the mountains.

I had called him te day before after my good friend Yasushi Imaizumi, a gastronome and real connoisseur, has introduced me to this great farmer.
He had gracefully agreed to pick me up as his farm is noteasy to find, but had warned me he had some work on the way.

Which suited me fine as it gave me the occasion to visit Okitsu JA Farmers Market where he delivered some of the morning’s crop.
Mr. Naitoh is a fourth generation farmer as far as tea and mikan/madarine oranges are concerned, but as for figs he is a first generation farmer and has grown them for 22 years.

The first that struck me in his orchard is that he uses almost no pesticides or herbicides as proved by the grasses growing freely between the rows of fig trees.
As for fertilizer he mainly uses pig’s manure from a neighboring farmer that he mixes with only a minimum of artificial fertilizer, mainly calcium and potassium.

This particular fig, in spite of its green/-yellow skin is ripe!
It is a “banané fig/バナネ無花果”, a French variety. Beautiful and succulent!

Mr. Naitoh grows three types of figs which don’t need any help for pollination: Banané Fig/バナネ無花果, Common Fig/普通無花果, and

and Violet Figs/ヴィオレ無花果, another French variety which turns to a striking black/purple color when ripe!

One cannot replant a fig tree in the same spot from where another fig tree has been rooted out. Mr. Naitoh therefore keeps experimenting even using discarded polysterene boxes!

Mr. Naitoh also grows fig trees in pots to sell to homes and gardeners!

I wouldn’t mind one of those on my balcony!

For a closer look!
Taking care of a fig tree is not so difficult. Don’t forget to cut the fruit-bearing branches at their base in winter. Don’t worry they will grow fast again and produce two crops in July and Ocotober in warm conditions!

As Mr. Naitoh uses no pesticides, in the afternoon he turns hunter and kill the little critters by hand!

Mr. Naitoh is not only a grower but a fine chef!
I bought this succulent-looking fig compote!
I also got his fig jam!

These figs will be delivered as far as Chiba Prefecture on the other side of Tokyo!

Apart of oranges and tea on pieces of land dispersed in the mountains, Mr. Naitoh also cultivates Roselle/ロセル, a variety of hibiscus.
Now, why is he growing flowers in the middle of his orchards?

For food!

The flowers are picked before they open at all.
The core will be discarded and only the red sepal will be kept to be turned into jam!
I got a full bag of them and made my own jam, reminiscent of acid pomegranates. Absolutely beautiful (in taste as well as in looks!)!

Mr. Naitoh accepts private orders of his three types of figs, fig compote, fig jam, roselle, so do not hesitate to call him!

Yoshihiko Naitoh/内藤好彦
Mobile: 09029465250
Tel.: 054-369-1679

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Umeshu: Sanwa Brewery

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Umeshu comes under different guises in Japan, but if you buy one instead of making it yourself make sure you buy one brewed by a reputable Brewery!
In Shizuoka Prefecture, umeshu is an extravagant affair when made by the local breweries.
Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City is no exception!

Sanwa Brewery Garyubai Umeshu

Alcohol: 12 degrees (fairly low for Shizuoka but still high when compared with cheap stuff!)
Ingredients: Japanese Plum (“Ume”), Sake. Sugar.

Clarity: Very clear at rest. Smoky if stirred beforehand
Colour: Orange/sepia
Aroma: Ver fragrant and sweet plums.
Body: Velvety~fluid
Taste: Dry attack, turns sweet later. Shortish tail. Very pleasant impression. Elegant.

Overall: Very enjoyable and easy to drink.
Fine at room temperature.
Makes for a great aperitif when chilled.
Great with cheese at room temperature.
Elegant beverage. Should please both ladies and gentlemen!

Peaches Season!

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[Courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun, June 21st, 2008]

The rainy season in Japan is called “Tsuyu”. The kanji characters 梅雨 mean “Plum Rain”, because it is the season when Japanese plums are harvested and preserved either as umeboshi/梅干-salted pickled plums, or in umeshu/梅酒-plums in sake.

But this is also the season for great peaches/桃(momo) being harvested in Shizuoka Prefecture, especially in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, an area nationally famous for its greenhouse fruit growers.
This year promises a rich and very high quality crop!

Agricultural Products: Banpeiyu Citrus

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(Shizuoka Shinbun, December 28th, 2007)

Shimizu ku has of recent years at the forehead of fruit development.
The latest is the largest citrus variety know in the world, which comes under the Japanes name of “晩白柚”/Banpeiyu.
Originally from Malay Peninsula, it has successfully grown in Shimizu Ku. It can reach a circumference of 65 cm and weigh as much as 3 kilogrammes!
Even so this year’s crop was comparetively small in size and volume. I wonder what would represent a good crop!