Tag Archives: Otrganic vegetables

Organic Vegetables from Matsuki Bio Farm at Uzu and Hana Oto!

Summer Vegetables “Gorogoro” Salad at Uzu!

Matsuki Bio Farm in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji is a leader when it comes to organic vegetables agriculture.
True to say, as Shizuoka Prefecture is also a leader in the whole of Japan, there are many other organic farms in our Prefecture, but Matsuki Bio Farm is one of the larger and more reliable producers as well.

You do find their products on many restaurant tables across Shizuoka Prefecture and Uzu and Hana Oto make an extra large usage of them!
Both establishments serve them in many ways, two of which I’d like to introduce here today!

The picture above is another view of the top photograph.
Kenya Yoshimura at Uzu serves a big mixture of these seasonal organic vegetables as a Summer (also in other seasons!) Vegetables “Gorogoro” Salad/夏野菜ゴロゴラダ.
Varied vegetables are either kept raw, steamed or fried and then cooled down before mixing them with a dressing of Kenya’s invention.
A very simple and most appropriate way to serve vegetables at their best!
Such salads include some very unusual vegetables such as Hasu Imo, which is not actually the tuber itself but the stems, eaten as green vegetables. Can you see those three strange whitish slices in the front?

Misonaise Vegetable Gratin at Hana Oto!

Whereas Uzu is a Japanese-style Izakaya which serves these vegetables as vegetarian food, Hana Oto is a Chinese Cuisine Izakaya, a very happy hybrid of Japanese and Chinese gastronomies, which serve their food without any particular concern for vegetarianism.
Yuusuke Tozaki’s concept will appeal to all nationalities, especially in colder weather as it is hot and nourishing!

Now, what is “misonaise”?
A mixture of miso paste and mayonnaise!
Some of the vegetables are first fried while others are steamed, boiled or raw.
The sauce, including enough condiments to season the whole, covers a generous portion of those vegetables before being cooked as a gratin in an oven!
Try it at home! It’s worth it!

To be contimued…

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Service: Excellent and very friendly. Very Japanese atmosphere.
Facilities: Excellent washroom facilities. Great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable.
Strong Points: Great sake from Shizuoka and Japan Great Shochu. Home-made umeshu. Mainly local products, especially organic vegetables.
Non-smoking on Sundays and National Holidays

HANA OTO/華音
420-0032 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Ryougae Cho, 5-8, Shin Kamogawa Bldg., 2F-D
Business hours: 17:30~24:00
Closed on Mondays

Service: Very friendly and attentive
Equipment: Great general cleanliness. Beautiful toilets
Prices: reasonable
Strong points: Great use of local ingredients in beautiful Chinese Cuisine. Great sake and shochu!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Tomato Tempura at Uzu!

Service: Excellent and very friendly. Very Japanese atmosphere.
Facilities: Excellent washroom facilities. Great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable.
Strong Points: Great sake from Shizuoka and Japan Great Shochu. Home-made umeshu. Mainly local products, especially organic vegetables.
Non-smoking on Sundays and National Holidays

Tempura must be one of the most known facets of Japanese cuisine!
It looks simple enough but good tempura does need a lot of experience and great skills!
And when it comes to serve water-filled vegetables as tempura it becomes a true challenge!

As mentioned before, instead of venturing into long-winded reports about full meals I take at my “regular spots”, I will concentrate on their seasonal dishes!
Now, Mr. Kenya Yoshimura/吉村健也さん is a master of vegetables.
I just can’t imagine the timing and the temperature but when the tomatoes came on my table last night I was once again nonplussed by the sheer simplicity of the dish in its presentation!

This is actually a regular dish at Uzu although the tomatoes will change with the seasons!
In winter I remember having had the same with green tomatoes! The heat had enhanced their hidden “umami” to the point one forgets they were actually unripe!
But the present red tomatoes (organic by the way!) were ripe. I just don’t know how they didn’t explode in the hot oil!
They come with home-made yuzukoshio seasoning. The perfect “marriage” of flavors!

That was how I “presented” it to myself!
All these flavors breaking inside the palate…

To be continued…

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Nashi-Japanese Pears at Ichikawa Garden in Iwata City!

Two generations of Japanese Pear growers: Takeshi and his parents, Toshiyuki and Kumiko Ichikawa/市川、利行、久美子さん!

Nashi/梨/called Japanese Pears, Nashi Pears or Sand Pears and many other names are the fruit of hot summers par excellence!
One has to bite into one of these crunchy and extremely juicy, and absolutely delicious, fruits once to understand why Nashi Pears are also venerated as the true fruits of life!

It was another blinding hot day again yesterday and I was certainly grateful for Takeshi San to come all the way to Toyoda Cho Station and then to take me all the way again to their fields and house!
The same fields are heavily protected by nets for all kinds of obvious natural reasons!

Housui Pears/豊水梨!

The Ichikawas mainly grow two varieties of nashi pear, Housui/豊水 and Kosui/辛水, the former ripening in August and September and the latter in full production right now.
Both are extremely juicy and tasty!

Hosui Pear, still comparatively small.

Kosui Pears/辛水梨!

The Kosui Pears are lighter in color wth a different skin pattern.

Growing nashi pears organically at sea level is practically impossible but all that grass proves that the Ichikiwas use only the strict minimum of pesticides! Actually, they have cut all ties with official “Agriculture Associations” so as to conduct the agriculture they think is right!

A lot of pears fall naturally and they will be included with other natural fertilizer to be mixed with the soil when they till the ground between the trees in winter.

I can assure you it is tough work to keep these orchards clean in their three locations for a total of 40 acres, what with typhoons and other unpredictable weather conditions!

For all the hard work harvesting lettuces in winter, corn in spring, pears in summer and rice in autumn, they never stop smiling!

The crop of the day!

A lot of manual and mechanical work involved!

Takeshi’s father started his orchards 30 years ago and gradually replacing all these trees takes time and care.
The above have a difference of more than 25 years! The old one is actually about to collapse!

The orchards have to be protected not only with nets against birds but also with electric wires against civets!

Takeshi san took me to another field where new trees had been planted 5 years ago and bore their first commercial crop!
A lot of investment is involved there!

These new branches will be bent down into a canopy at head level for better reach and control!

These are actually a new variety called nikkori/にっこり that matures as late as October!

You will not find the Ichikawas’ pears in any shop as they sell them only directly at their orchards or from personal order!
Even so they have a hard time satisfying all the demand. A proof of the extravagant quality!

Already all packed and ready to go!
Don’t worry, I managed to get mine!
Actually I can help you get them personally!

As any farmers worth their salt, the Ichikawas grow all kinds of vegetables for their own use and extra earnings!
I took a big batch of those beautiful okra back home!

To be continued…

ICHIKAWA GARDEN
Takeshi Ichikawa/Chouchou Farm
438-0804 Shizuoka Ken, Iwata Shi, Kamo, 200
静岡県磐田市加茂200
Tel/Fax: 0538-34-0629
Mobile: 080-1614-2271

Lettuce: October~April
Corn: June~July (May for greenhouse)
Japanese pears/nashi: August~September
Rice: Middle of September
Other vegetables (please call for more information!)
Private orders welcome!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Organic Vegetables at Kitayama Organic Farm (2nd interview)

My purchase of the day!

As promised last Sunday I went all the way to Fujinomiya City yesterday to pay a visit to the Hirakakis’ Kitayama organic farm!
Masaaki Hirakaki/平垣正明さん (45) was kind enough to pick me up at the station in his small pick-up truck to drive me all the way to their home across his fields.

Masaaki Hirakaki/平垣正明さん!

Once again it was flaming hot and I certainly appreciated the slight drop in temperature as their fields lie at an altitude of 400 meters at the foot of Mount Fuji (which was lost in the clouds then). Mind you, it can be bitingly cold there in winter!

They grow all kinds of vegetables here and there on plots of land totaling 6,000 square meters!

When you discover all that natural grass (tough to keep in check!) between the rows of vegetables and among them you understand quickly that no insecticides, herbicides or agrichemicals are used there!

I just couldn’t catch all the names of the fancy vegetables, some of them in some kind of Italian. I just sweated too much and was too busy to take pics to jot down all the names! Next time I will take a secretary along…?
Anyway, these chili peppers are a sweet variety!

Common (?) green pepper.

Dwarf violet eggplant/aubergine.

Big and round violet eggplant/aubergine.

The same in its row.
Notice that the ground is protected with black vinyl to keep off insects.

Long and thin “thread eggplants/aubergines”!

Very crunchy and juicy Japanese cucumber!

Sweet potatoes/satsuma imo!
Again tough work to pull off that grass (used as compost later!)!

Beautiful pumpkin with an impossible Italian name!

The same and its flower!

I love all those healthy pumpkin flowers!

Instead of using insecticides or herbicides Masaaki “burns” the soil under vinyl sheets with the help of natural sun light and heat!

There is certainly no lack of pure water constantly flowing from the slopes of Mount Fuji!

Green okra!
Some plants are marked with a ribbon to indicate they are let grow freely to supply next year’s seeds!

Okra flowers are edible!

Big violet okra grown for their seeds!

Masaaki also grows his own rice, half for his own consumption, half for sale!

Have you ever seen rice flowers?

These tomatoes are not let to grow on stalks. They are for cooking, not to be eaten raw!

Sweet white corn field! It has to be protected with nets to fend off rampant civets!

Incredibly sweet and juicy eaten raw!

The Hirakakis (both 45 and so young!) in front of their home they built with their own hands!

Part of the day’s crop on sale!

Their home is such an intelligent jumble of bits and pieces, including some real antiques!

They do have many friends of all ages from all sorts of locations to help them organize regular parties!
Many of them are producers I will soon visit!

Organic shallots left to dry outside.

Rare organic chicken and quail eggs from a friend’s farm!

We actually went back to the fields to pick my favorite banana peppers! Incidentally these grow upwards!
The Hirakakis, professional photographers, moved here from Shizuoka City 6 years ago.
At the time Kiko had a pet rabbit she fed with organic carrot leaves grown by a friend.
They started to grow organic carrots for the pet, which developed into full-fledged organic agriculture!

Little beauties, aren’t they?

Tomatoes for cooking!

Kiko san fried the same tomatoes with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and cheese!
So sweet and delicious!

We ate them with these enormous organic sweet basil leaves!

I purchased all these for my friends in their izakaya!

Aki Suzuki/鈴木朋さん at Yasaitei/やさい亭 in Shizuoka City!
She does not look too happy, not because of the beautiful vegetables she holds, but because I caught her on a busy day! LOL

Can you guess which ones I brought?

To be continued…. I mean these trips to Fujinomiya City!

Kitayama Organic Farm
Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki
418-0112 Fujinomiya Shi, Kitayama, 3102
Tel./Fax: 0544-25-2795
Mobile phone: 090-2261-8821
HOMEPAGE
Orders accepted according to personal priorities and seasonal availability!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Organic Vegetables at Kitayama Organic Farm (1st interview)

As the second Sunny Sunday Event was held in front of Parco Department Store, Shizuoka City, yesterday I went to check if I could find new participants to this local market featuring shops and growers from all over the Prefecture.

It certainly paid off as I had the pleasure to meet Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki/平垣雅章と紀子さん, a very young-minded couple from as far as Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji, an area celebrated for its many organic vegetables growers!

Kiko had this great idea to exhibit their vegetables in pots, pans, baskets and boxes and provide customers with osier baskets to choose their vegetables at their own leisure!

These beautiful pumpkins are not easily available in Europe but here in Japan they are very popular!

It is certainly a great pleasure for a lot of people to discover that such common place vegetables are also grown organically!

So cute and so appetizing!

Actually Mr. and Mrs. Hirakakい are also professional photographers who decided to seriously grow organic vegetables 4 years ago!

They were so passionate explaining everyone all about their vegetables, their season, their taste, the best way to cook them and so forth!

They certainly attracted some major celebrities of Shizuoka Gastronomy!
I very much doubt I will be able to take such a picture at ease any time in the future:
Ms. Tokiko Hirano/平野斗紀子さんof Tamara Press
Mr. Testuya Sugimoto/杉本哲也さん, Owner/Chef at Tetsuya Sugimoto
Mr. Tooru Arima/有馬亨さん/Owner/Chef at Pissenlit
Mr. Fujio Satsukawa/薩川さん/Owner/Chef at Chez Satsukawa
It also shows that the Hirakakis have attracted some serious interest!

Look at the beauties I bought and that the Missus is going to prepare for us tonight!

I will have ample opportunity to explain all about their vegetables and varieties as I’m going all the way to Fujinomiya City and interview them very soon!

Kitayama Organic Farm
Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki
418-0112 Fujinomiya Shi, Kitayama, 3102
Tel./Fax: 0544-25-2795
Mobile phone: 090-2261-8821
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery