Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Veggies on the Street Purchase!

Jet lag is sending us to bed early and waking us up early, too. This morning we woke up around 5:30am, and kept trying to go back to sleep until about 6am. Then it was up to make coffee, and plan our day.

I think part of what got us up was my stomach growling. Yesterday we ate little, and I felt sleepy and a bit nautious for part of the day. Well, I should say I felt a little dodgey, but then easily wolfed down a lovely little pastry at a coffee shop later in the afternoon. And then I did the same to some sushi that same evening. So yummy, but apparently not quite enough for my tummy to make it quietly through the night.

Finding good veggies and some rice were today's objectives. It seems like it shouldn't really be that difficult, but things are a bit pricey. A head of broccoli runs about $2, and 4 kilos of brown rice run about $15. Brown rice itself is hard to come by, too. The majority of rice is white, and since we can't read the packages we don't know if it's sticky rice, soft rice, short or long grain. Most vegetables at the store come wrapped in plastic, which is a pain in the neck to deal with stateside much less here where the sorting of trash is taken to an art form. (More on that later.)

Imagine the thrill when I spotted a little truck pulled up in front of a bank with fresh vegetables displayed all around. We checked out the prices, grabbed a basket, and went to work. Some things we don't recognize at all, but we will give them a try next time. We did find broccoli, unidentified but tasty greens, eggplants, sweet potatoes, huge green onions that we thought were leeks, and apples. The farmer helped us identify things as we went along with our trusty dictionary, and we hope to see the truck there again. I am not entirely sure what is currently in season, but based on all the gardens I see (seriously, I see a ton) with row covers and hoop houses and the mostly mild weather I'm betting seasons can be easily extended.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

The brown rice is a problem. When we lived in Tokyo we got ours mail-order directly from a farmer in Niigata. Now of course we grow our own.

I am sure Tomoe can set you up with the delivery farmer... or you can buy from us! ;) While our is not certified organic, and probably could not be because our field is getting run-off water from fields above it and around it that do use chemicals, we don't put any in ourselves. Ours i also "low-footprint" if that means anything. We do everything from planting to harvesting to weeding by hand, and this year are going to try to do the husking by hand as well.

Anyway, you will get a chance to taste it when you get here.

As far as veggies, if you join the Tokyo COOP, you can have low-chem or organic delivered to your doorstep once a week. Of course, you have to plan and order ahead of time, but it is quite convenient and the COOP is more careful about environment and food quality. For example, if you are buying chicken or eggs, the add tells you how many chickens are raised per meter for each seller, and it tells details about how much chemicals they use to grow their veggies, etc. Of course, you need a little Japanese to decipher it. You can also order the "grab bag" where for a set price you get whatever the farmers have surplus of.

Here is what a typical week or so worth of delivery from the COOP looked like for us back in '05 when we lived in Tokyo.