Friday, July 24, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Farmers Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, July 25th and Sunday, July 26th

Charming summer bouquets at the Ebisu Market.
Summer seems to have arrived at long last draped in sultry sun and glorious sunsets. The tomatoes are rolling in from the garden, and those darn zucchini keep eluding me. I pulled in another one the other day about twice the size of my foot, and that's saying something. While you won't find gargantuan zucchini at the markets, you will find tomatoes, cucumbers, and plenty of other wonderful summer delights. Don't miss the chance to do something love and fun in the heat that also happens to result in something scrumptious later on. See you at the market!

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Possibly Blue-Eyed Grass in the Garden



My community garden plot has been full of surprises. There were the tulips, a volunteer onion, and a lovely cherry tomato plant. The best surprise, though, were these little bloomers skimming the Northwest corner. Delicate blossoms that started in late Spring and greeted me even this morning when I ran down to check on things before the heat of the day firmly set down its foot.

A native of the Midwest, Blue-Eyed Grass is a favorite of mine from home. How it got here exactly I don't know, nor do I know absolutely that it is the flower I think it is, but for now I'm choosing to believe that's what it is.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Case of the Extra Eggplant


The mysterious eggplant in the old potato bed.
The latest in the series of unseasonable typhoons we've endured recently as well as my schedule have kept me out of the garden. The rain seemed endless and whenever it would let up, I'd have something else scheduled that I couldn't change. Were the tomatoes ripe? Had the soba gone to seed? Had the new soba sprouted? Would I find another giant zucchini or cucumber waiting for me? How was the popcorn?

My husband, though, scurried down once or twice during a break in the rain to get greens for our salads. One day he took photos. "How's the popcorn?" I asked, reaching for the phone to see the pictures. "It's out of control," he said as he started making the salad for our lunch.

Sure enough, it was. The popcorn, Smoke Signals, is said to grow to about 8 feet in height, and these plants are living up to their reputation. It loomed in the back of the photo, just behind the now empty potato bed.

Except the potato bed wasn't empty.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th

Don't miss Nakaiya Farm at the Ebisu Market.
All the way from Saitama, their tomatoes - fresh and dried, large and small - are the best.
Summer is well underway and now is the time to dash out with a backpack and load up on favorites. This weekend is one of the more jam-packed farmers market weekends, so take your pick of delectable markets and delightful growers and producers. Nippori and Oiso are two of my favorites, and perhaps where I'll be roaming about if I'm not in Chiba volunteering at a tambo art project. There is way too much fun to be had in the summer!

Ebisu Market
Sunday, July 19th
Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that Do One Good, an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you! I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, July 18th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, July 19th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. This month the market will be a a three-day wonderland of organic and fair trade goodness not to be missed. Come frolic and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Goats on the Farm in Tokyo

Who doesn't love a good cabbage leaf?
It is with great pleasure that I introduce two of my replacements at the farm in Tokyo where I used to help out. Above are May and Satsuki, the two lovely rental goats who are spending six months munching their way through the grasses and weeds in the kuri (chestnut) grove at the farm. Granted, they have eaten a few of the kuri branches, too. "They needed pruning," said C-chan with a shrug of her shoulders and a small laugh when we talked about it.

Nibbling the cabbage leaf.
Rental goats are part of a new trend in farming. (This article at Japan for Sustainability offers a nice overview of the idea.) They eat weeds, do a little fertilizing, and are generally friendly. Put up some fencing and a small shelter, and the hooved work crew will happily settle in.

May and Satsuki lounging between shifts.
May and Satsuki come when C-chan calls, and they enjoy a cabbage leaf or two when it's in season. The other night we spotted one lounging in the cool air while the other grazed nearby, their white coats glowing in the moonlight, a welcome and soothing sight.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Article about Hideki Mochizuki and Atsugi Brewery in Metropolis Magazine

Hideki Mochizuki and one of his brews.
I confess that I have taken full advantage of the craft beer trend in Japan. My articles in Modern Farmer, Metropolis Magazine, and Beer Zen Journal required painstaking research into the breweries, their beers, and the food they choose to serve with them. What delicious and fascinating suffering it was, I must say.

My latest piece, The Craft of Beer at Metropolis Magazine, introduces Atsugi Beer and its brewer, Hideki Mochizuki. It was a real pleasure not just to drink his beer, but to roam about the brewery itself with him. It was so much fun, and I left thinking about brewing beer at home. I'm over that for the moment, but it's a sign of real passion and skill when another person and their work inspire that feeling. Try it for yourself and see what happens.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, July 11th and Sunday, July 12th

Ebisu Market rocking it in the rain.
Tsuyu (rainy season) may be just a tad bit out of control. Seriously. A whole week of rain seems a bit much. The garden has turned into a jungle, and even the frogs are seeking higher ground. (Wait for a photo of those little cuties up high in my seven foot tall heirloom popcorn!) However, it does make excellent weather for canning, fermenting, and otherwise trying various food preservation methods. Plus, all those farmers are still making their way to the markets, so you might as well go say hello!

Market of the Sun
Saturday, July 11th and Sunday, July 12th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to have a bit of an Italian theme, too. Cheese, anyone?. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!