Friday, July 18, 2014

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th

Garlic ready to plant or eat! 
Goodness me, this weekend is jam-packed with markets all around the region! Don't let a little rain hold you back from heading on out to find some of the best the summer has to offer from some of the region's niftiest growers and producers. Grab a hat, a backpack, and see what glorious foodly fun you can find!

Ebisu Market
Sunday, July 20th
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!
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, July 20th
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 19th and Sunday, July 20th
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 20th
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!
5pm - 9pm
Oiso Port Building

Sunday, July 20th
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 bit of its wonderful normalness. If something exciting comes up, though, I promise to alert folks. Planning is in the works, so who knows what Fairtrade excitement might be in the air?
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
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!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets for Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th

Hands on good veg at Futamatagawa Farmers Market!

A lovely weekend of blue sky, breeze, and somewhat high temperatures marks the beginning of summer in the Kanto region! Farms and market gardens everywhere are pleased as punch and the harvest bounty to be found at markets and chokubaijo's alike will be proof. Don a hat, grab a backpack, and head on out to find all you need and more for a week of foodly fun and deliciousness!

Market of the Sun
Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest. 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

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!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pickling Power: Asazuke Recipe at Ecotwaza!


As temperatures rise and garden bounty increases, asazuke (morning pickles) are the perfect savory solution. No cooking means no heat in the kitchen and they are an easy way to make use of all the garden or market has to offer. A recent batch using ingen (green beans) went rather well, if I do say so myself. Rhubarb has also been a fun one to try, it's natural tang pleasantly balanced by the salt and a bit of sliced onion. Get the full recipe over at Ecotwaza and get pickling!

Friday, July 4, 2014

July Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets

Good fun and good veg at the Nagoya Organic Farmers Market!
Summer is well on its way it would seem. Tomatoes, eggplants, and garlic are making appearances at farmers markets and chokubaijos everywhere. Late June and early July are excellent times to stock-up on onions, too, and the red variety seem to be the new hot item. I've made about a zillion batches of asazuke with them and some snazzy cucumbers: beautiful and tasty! This month only promises more fun with sweet corn storming on the scene with green beans leading the way. Oh, the bounty. Take an extra bag to the market!

Tokaidaigakumae Organic Market
Saturday, July 5th
This fledgling market is worth a visit, particularly for those out in this neck of the woods, not only for the diverse selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, but for the awesome venue. Ginger and Pickles is easily one of the best little secrets around, and visitors can find both excellent local produce and some scrumptious vegan fare. Roll in early to shop and hang out for some leisurely munching!
11am to 5pm
Turn right out of the ticket gates. Turn left and go down the stairs (or the ramp) and keep going straight until you run into Ginger and Pickles on your left.

Ebisu Market
Sunday, July 6th and Sunday, July 20th
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!
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest. 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

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, July 20th
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 19th and Sunday, July 20th
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 20th
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!
5pm - 9pm
Oiso Port Building

Sunday, July 20th
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 bit of its wonderful normalness. If something exciting comes up, though, I promise to alert folks. Planning is in the works, so who knows what Fairtrade excitement might be in the air?
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
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!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chokubaijo's in Metropolis Magazine

A chokubaijo just outside Higashikawa, Hokkaido.
(I know, I'm cheating a little, but it's a nice picture.)
Looking for vegetables but not able to wander off to a farmers market? Or just looking to do a little exploring in your neighborhood? Well, check out my latest piece at Metroplis on chokubaijo's (direct sale stands) in the Tokyo area and go get your veg on! Or jam or pickles or fruit, as the case may be. Be prepared to fill up a backpack or bicycle basket, too!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tokyo and Kanagawa Farmers Markets: Saturday, June 28th and Sunday, June 29th

Ichizaki-san at the Futamatagawa Farmers Market in Yokohama.
Try the cabbage!
The weekend forecast promises rain mixed with sun, which is excellent for farms and gardens but not absolutely ideal for farmers market shopping. Don't be deterred, though, as summer fruits such as sumomo (plums) and a few kiwis even are starting to appear along with the usual crowd of summer vegetables. Zucchini (also available at your local chokubaijo!) should be in abundance now, and don't hesitate. These long, lush lovelies are short-lived in Tokyo's hot humidity, although northern growers will have a longer season. (A batch of our favorite zucchini pickles is underway even as I type!)

Futamatagawa Farmers Market
Friday, June 27th
This little market is one of my newest discoveries as I start roaming about Kanagawa Prefecture in search of markets. Two stops away from Yokohama Station, Futamagawa is an out-of-the-way destination that offers an astounding array of seasonal fruit and vegetables along with a nice selection of baked goods, pickles, and staples. Worth a wander over.
10am to 6pm
Futamatagawa Station - just outside the ticket gates

Sunday, June 29th
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 bit of its wonderful normalness. If something exciting comes up, though, I promise to alert folks. Planning is in the works, so who knows what Fairtrade excitement might be in the air?
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!

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!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ume Hachimitsu: The recipe and a few suggested variations

Ume soaking in preparation for hachimitsu-ing.
Ume (Japanese plum) season is winding down as rainy season comes to a close. Starting out green and hard, most shoppers will now find these little round fruits a bit yellow and, on occasion, with a red blush. And while there is plenty of umeshu tucked away in our closets (along with two new variations: rhubarb natsu mikan and ume amanatsu mikan), there was a distinct shortage of ume hachimitsu. A sweet and sour beverage made from honey and vinegar, ume hachimitsu is the best drink on a hot summer day.

Unlike its delicious counterpart, umeshu, ume hachimitsu is alcohol-free so kids can drink it. I used to pour a few tablespoons in a bottle, top it off with water, and pop it in the freezer before going to the bed. The next morning I grabbed it as I headed out to the farm to harvest tomatoes in the greenhouse or trim the eggplants. It cooled and refreshed as well as rehydrated.

 As my husband likes to say, “Move over, lemonade. There’s a new game in town.” 

Ume Hachimitsu 

Ingredients 
1 kilogram ume (Japanese plums)
1 kilogram hachimitsu (honey)
1.8 liters of vinegar

Equipment 
Big glass jar with lid

Soak the plums for a few hours to let any bugs wander out and make it easy to remove any stem bits. Drain, remove the stem bits, and plop in the ume. Pour in the vinegar. Pour in the honey. Put on the lid, label the jar, and set it in a cool, dark place for about a month. Serve with sparkling or regular water. Enjoy!

Caveats and alternative ingredients 
If ume are not readily available, don’t be shy to use something else. Really, I think any fruit would be wonderful, but you might have to play with the ratios a bit to get the desired flavor. Doesn't seem like such a bad job, does it?

I would recommend trying it with the following:
 - rhubarb (I just made an experimental batch of this, and will keep folks posted.)
 - regular plums
 - apples, preferably sour
 - lemons
 - red raspberries

I use rice vinegar because that's what I have in the shops. Standard white vinegar or cider vinegar would work very well, too. I might lean more toward cider vinegar for its softer flavor, but again, experiment away!