Tag Archives: Organic agriculture

Organic Japanese Plums Harvesting in Higashimine, Shizuoka City, with Marufuku Seicha Co.!

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!

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The weather was not that great, what with fog and drizzle, but it was more comfortable than last year when it blazing hot!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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A real free fall, I can guarantee you!

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Asami invites every time to ride down with her, and I refuse every time!

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The rest of us just walk down.
Mind you, you do have to be fit and cautious!

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Japanese cedars (cryptomeria) everywhere!

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Walking past lone neighbors’ farmhouse!

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We can stop at a nice little traditional farmhouse built by Asami’s late father!
In need we could stay there overnight!

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Very traditional Japanese atmosphere!

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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!

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The baskets used for the harvest!

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Asami and her younger sister plucking the trees under the drizzle!

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The plums have to be picked just before they ripen, otherwise they will naturally and very quickly ferment!

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Japanese plums are not edible raw, but are used to make umeboshi/salted plums, umeshu/ume sake, ume jam and so forth!

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Harvest piling up!

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Still not complete.
We must have harvested about 80 kg that day, although the crop was not impressive this year!

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The only “monster” of the crop!

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Once the crop finished we sorted it we put it on the “railway”!

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It was time for lunch while the watermelon was cooling down!

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Like last year I was the one in charge of cutting it!

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Great dessert!

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Cleaning up and getting ready to climb back to the car park!

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Asami starting the train and going ahead of us!

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By then, it was almost pouring, but the mountain views were beautiful!

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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
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
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
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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Organic and Natural Agriculture with Mentally-impaired Patients at “Workshop Leaf “in Shizuoka City (2)!

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Organic green peas!

Shizuoka City is very active with the welfare of mentally and physically impaired children, and consequently adults, because it is the location of one of the only two “Children Hospitals” in Japan.
It is also very much used as research center or “test case” to find ways to make life easier for such patients.
The fact that Shizuoka City has a mild climate all year through was played an important role in choosing and equipping such a location. But children eventually have to leave hospitals and be looked after in special institutions.
One such institution is Workshop Leaf in Kita, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.

They came up with the idea of creating a garden under the leadership of young Ryoji Takeda/武田良治さん to grow organic and natural vegetables in 2009.
JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard/日本農林規格) gave them recognition as an organic agriculture farm in September 2014.

Yesterday was my second visit and I brought along a good friend, Ms. Hiromi Hasegawa/長谷川浩美さん who was very much interested in acquiring their products, especially leaf vegetables and herbs, for her establishment, La Sommeliere in Miyuki-Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!!

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Organic potatoes and more green peas!

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Organic garlic!

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Hiromi San and I were particularly interested in these fennel heads, very difficult to obtain on the Japanese market!

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Natural agriculture Swiss chard!
Ryoji San had let these overgrow as he intends to use their seeds!

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The fennel were really beautiful and they are just ready for harvest!
The whole plant is edible and can be cooked in so many ways!

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A grand view of both gardens!
They will be soon be full of greenery!

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Hiromi San with her harvest!
But she already has her eyes on some other treasures impossible to find in local markets!

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No wonder a lot of people use Swiss chard as decorative plants!

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Of course Ryoji san gave us a lift to visit his small greenhouse at the foot of the local mountains to show Hiromi San where the dried herbs she had also acquired came from!

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These tomato seedlings will become another temptation!

Next visit and more vegetables soon!

WORKSHOP LEAF

420-0961 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kita, 3-18-37
Opening hours: 08:30~17:30
Closed on week ends
Tel.: 054-248-2705
E-mail address: wa-kushoppu@cy.tnc.ne.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
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
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Organic and Natural Agriculture with Mentally-impaired Patients at “Workshop Leaf “in Shizuoka City (1)!

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Shizuoka City is very active with the welfare of mentally and physically impaired children, and consequently adults, because it is the location of one of the only two “Children Hospitals” in Japan.
It is also very much used as research center or “test case” to find ways to make life easier for such patients.
The fact that Shizuoka City has a mild climate all year through was played an important role in choosing and equipping such a location. But children eventually have to leave hospitals and be looked after in special institutions.
One such institution is Workshop Leaf in Kita, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.

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They came up with the idea of creating a garden under the leadership of young Ryoji Takeda/武田良治さん to grow organic and natural vegetables in 2009.
JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard/日本農林規格) gave them recognition as an organic agriculture farm in September 2014.

I finally visited the for the first time thanks to the help of my friend Nahoko Imai今井奈保子さん who runs a Fair Trade associated shop called Teebom in Sumpu Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City (report coming soon!) where she sells some of their products

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Organic herb tea.

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Black and brown rice recognised as Eco farm products by the Shizuoka Prefecture Government.

Workshop Leaf does not only .produce agricultural products but also Japanese paper/Washi/和紙 and some reaaly cute dye cloths (another report coming soon!)!

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Adult patients living in Workshop Leaf are severely mentally impaired and need constant care.
Among their occupations is farming under constant supervision. They seemed very calm and attentive to me in spite of their obvious impairments. I’m convinced such a natural outdoors occupation contributes to their well-being.

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The farming is divided into two distinct projects, one organic and the other”natural”, that is done with no fertilizer, pesticides or even water.
The fertilizers used for the organic cultivation are basically organic matter matter including chicken manure, other animal manure and kurosekkai/黒石灰/black Calcium cyanamide.

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Organic leeks.

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Green peas.

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Cabbages.

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Nahoko Imai and Ryoji Imai inspecting the “natural” fields.

As for the natural farming, fields are only covered with rice husks to protect them.

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The original soil has been mixed with fine bamboo chips to help the natural breakdown of soil into a rich bed for vegetables. Interestingly enough insects hate such a soil thus making the use of pesticide obsolete.
I do recognize I need to explain in more detail such a cultivation but I don’t want to write mistakes and in any case this article is the first one of a monthly visit, therefore expect more details in the near future not only about the life in Workshop Leaf but also about their cultivation!

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Natural cultivation carrots!

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Appetizing natural carrots!

Actually I talked at length about the marketing of such agricultural products. Some local restaurants are already buying them and I plan not only to suggest other plant species but also introduce the farm to more local restaurants and chefs!

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Natural farming turnips.

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Natural farming fennel.

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Natural farming artichokes.

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Natural farming Swiss chard.

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They do need to expand and already have another small field and a green house.

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Inside view of the green house especially used for herbs!

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More carrots.

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Mint.

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Coriander.

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Violet daikon in the field nearby.

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Big red radishes in the field nearby.

More coming next month!

WORKSHOP LEAF

420-0961 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kita, 3-18-37
Opening hours: 08:30~17:30
Closed on week ends
Tel.: 054-248-2705
E-mail address: wa-kushoppu@cy.tnc.ne.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
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
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

French Gastronomy: Bonito-Katsuo at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City!

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Service: Excellent and very friendly.
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Superb washroom (mouthwash and toothpicks provided!)!
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expensive, very good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables and Shizuoka-bred meat and caught fish. Very inventive French gastronomy.

Shizuoka Prefecture boasts many seafood varieties as its specialties: Sakura Ebi/Cherry Shrimps, Shirasu/Sardine Whiting, Tachiuo/Scabbard Fish, Takahashi Gani:the largest crab in the world. and so on, but the fish it is most proud of is arguably katsuo or bonito!

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We are very much in season is coming through the Suruga Bay and along our shores back to colder waters. We call it “Modori Katsuo/Bonito on his way back”!

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Chef Toru Arima/有馬亨さん often serves as a sublime appetizer in tataki form with organic vegetables, jelly and matcha tea and curry powder for a last seasoning touch!

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Bonito fillets are first seared on all sides before being plunged in icy water to stop the cooking.
Once completely cooled down it is cut in thick slices across the fillet.
Note the edible and so cute shiso/perilla flowers for a simple and so elegant touch!

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Viewed from the other side you can admire the bed created with pieces of organic vegetables and more bonito!

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Such gastronomy becomes a photographer’s pleasure!

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No this is not pasta, but thin egg plant vermicelli!

Considering the comparably simplicity of the ingredients this true gastronomic artistry!
And the taste? Just sublime!

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

French Gastronomy: Vegetables Palette at Tetsuya Sugimoto Restaurant in Shizuoka City!

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Service: Highly professional and friendly
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Beautiful washroom
Prices: Appropriate
Strong points: Freshest produce and ingredients only, mainly from Shizuoka Prefecture. Organic vegetables, top-class Shizuoka-bred meat and Suruga Bay seafood. Seasonal food only.

Map (Japanese)

There are times when you feel you ought to take a very long look at a dish to leave an indelible image in your brain.
Tetsuya Sugimoto, owner-chef of the eponymous restaurant in Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, tries never to interfere with the natural colors of the vegetables he utilizes in his superlative dishes.

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It becomes a photographic challenge when the plate comes in front of you at first and generally speaking the first photograph as above is rarely the best one!
So you start turning the plate around and take pictures from every possible angle.
Although Tetsuya does not mind at all, keep in mind that the dish, even served on a hot plate, will eventually cool down, so do hurry! (And you had better be alone, as the dragon will always start making snide remarks about my lack of concern for her or our company!)!

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Testuya’s technique is both simple and sophisticated. he will add almost no seasoning or sauce and will use the natural juices of the vegetables for the sauce with the addition of a little lemon juice and secret vinegar both to preserve the color.

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As for perfect cooking I know that he makes almost invisible incisions with a very thin and sharp knife inside the pieces of vegetables when they are thick to achieve a uniform cooking.
Incidentally all his vegetables are organic and grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.
And on request he can make such a dish purely vegan!

Tetsuya SUGIMOTO
420-0038Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umeya,2-13,1F
Tel./Fax: 054-251-3051
Opening hours:11:30~14:30,17:30~21:30
Holidays: undecided (do make a call first!)
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Organic Gardening in Shizuoka City 1

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The first plot as it has been for the last 15?20? years!

September 22nd 2013

I have just started helping a friend of mine, Asami Itoh/伊東麻美さん, the youngish (gentlemen, she is still eligible!) president and owner of Marufuku Tea Factory and CHA-O Tea Processing Company, with a project up in the mountains in Umegashima, Shizuoka City.
She wants to start the cultivation of organic herbs in particular in view to blend them later with her company’s organic tea for a more extensive market research.
Her father had bought land a long time ago at the altitude of 1.000 meters where he buit a house I have previously described in a recent article about organic Japanese plums.

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It takes a good hour by car to reach the spot at 1,000 meters at the very end of the road where you are greeted by a minuscule Shinto Shrine.

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The sign says “1,000 meters, the highest tea fields in Japan!”

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The red color is arguably the most used color for Shinto Shrines which are found in far more places than Budhist Temples especially in rural Japan!

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This “Torii/鳥居/Bird Gate”, for all its small size is remarkable for the fact that the top beam was made with the bottom part of a tree to show a pointed horn at its tip! Very rare actually! The whole portal was created by with logs sawed by the small log company just a few meters away!

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for the people interested with such facts, the name of the shrine is called “Inari Dai Myoujin/稲荷大明神”!
“Inari” is also the name of a sushi. Can you guess why? “Ina” means “rice” and it was offered inside rice straw balls at such shrines to pray for bountiful crops whose shape has been copied to make inari sushi!

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This very spot is heavens for photography buffs!

SN3O4806take a zoom with you to catch to the different grey hues of the mountain reminding you of a Chinese ink painting!

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From there it is precipitous walk down a narrow mountain lane or along a rail if you want to carry down/up heavy baggage. The city has finally decided to build a winding road down to Itoh’s house and a couple a farms on higher ground. The problem is that during the works which mike take as long as 3 years we will have to come down another more circuitous route….

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The house!
A lot inquiries for rent regularly reach Asami who is certainly not interested.
There is still a lot of work and cleaning inside although the toilets, bathroom and kitchen are working. Next year will see a lot of trash being taking away. Very hard work in prospect!

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The “field” in front of the house.
This is work for next year as we concentrate on the plot just in front of the house for the moment.
The field actually comprises all the organic Japanese plum trees we harvest very year to make umeshu, umeboshi and other preserves.
The field is full of fern these days, but these can be harvested in late spring as “warabi/蕨市/bracken, brake or common bracken, also known as “eagle fern”, a very popular mountain vegetables in Japan.
Asami already has to contend with wild monkeys, boars, deer, civets and even bears, but she discovered that people came regularly every year to steal those warabi. Picking some for your consumption is not much of a problem and she would welcome such unauthorized visitors, but the “thieves” go away with full crops! Don’t be surprised if some local supermarkets cannot tell you the origin of their warabi!
Talking of the animals (including humans?) we will have to erect light net fences during the winter to protect the japanese plum trees we will also have to prune (no pun intended!). We are also thinking of othe mountain vegetables crops for that field, too, but we will have to provide it some extra soil first!

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But first we have to deal with that 8 m2 plot (maybe small but perfect for research and trials) left unattended for the last 20 years.
At least the whole property has seen any agrichemicals or pesticides for the same period of time!

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I had to use the available traditional tools to dig up the deep-rooted grass and weeds.
We will come with more modern utensils in 2 weeks time!

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The temperature is still around 30 degrees even now and I can tell you this slow sweaty hard work! The soil being very dry does not make the digging up any easier!

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During that time Asami was ridding the field barbecue from weeds, ants and what else, not to mention all the bricks inside and and outside had to be taken out for better access and cleaning. I hard a time convincing her not to break the whole contraption!

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It was certainly worth it!

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Done at last!
Asami plans to grow mint, thyme, lemon balm, lemon grass and basil among other herbs but this will have to wait until early spring.
First I will have to sift the stones out of the soil in two weeks’ time (we plan to visit the place every two weeks at the beginning, which is sufficient providing that the fields are protected with netting).
Next in 4 weeks time I will mix in organic red soil, organic lime, organic fertilizer and oragnic vegtable/herb soil, cover the whole with a tarp and leave it ferment for the whole winter!

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It is already starting to look better!
See you again there in two weeks time!
We hope to bring along a friend or two next time to help with the work and to share a couple beers (Asami does not drink and she doesn’t mind driving us around!)!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Itoh Organic Project
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umegashina, Higashi Mine (Do not send letters yet as there is no post box!)

RECOMMENDED LINKS FOR ROOF GARDENING

Containerized: My Garden Blog
Gardens by Mike Palmer (Dorchester, England)
Best New York Gardening Blogs
Battery Rooftop Garden Blog (UK)
Green Roof Growers (Chicago)
Mitsukoshi Roof Top Garden – Ginza by Tokyobling’s Blog
NYCFARMER’S BLOG
The Tattooed Gardener
Town and Country Gardening
My Botanical Garden by Tamara
My Food and Flowers
Vienna Roof Garden
Leaf and Twig
Ekostories by Jack Yuen
My Food And Flowers
The Japans
Photography Art Plus
LOSTINTHOT
Spy Garden

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City