Skip to main content

A Little Earth Day Once a Month

Sunday morning found us trudging through a good steady rain to the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park. We weren't sure exactly what we would find - if anything or anyone - but we'd been trying to get here since the Earth Day Tokyo 2009 event. A little rain wasn't going to stop us now!

Damp yet enthusiastic vendors offered vegetables, prepared foods (mostly vegan and vegetarian), jams and preserves, handmade soaps and bath products, hand-dyed yarns, the biggest selection of millet I've ever seen along with sorghum and black rice, organic beer, seedlings, beans, honey, and cooking oils. Damp yet enthusiastic customers merrily jostled about with umbrellas to shop or chatted away while snacking at little tables under awnings.

We sampled an assortment of jams from both Tokotowa and Yokohama Honmoku, and wished we could have bought one of everything. Mouthwatering strawberry, blueberry, fig, and pear jams tempted us, and the tomato ketchup at Yokohama Honmoku would make Prairie Home Companion Ketchup Advisory Board proud. The flavored honey at Tokotowa drew us in, too, but we saved that one for the next time. (Delphine at Tokotowa gets credit for the title of this post, by the way.)

We bought udon noodles made from wheat raised at Mananouen, an organic farm run by a former commodities trader in Tokyo, carrot soap from azure soap, and black millet from Hitonigiri for our rice. Even though I get a veritable cornucopia of vegetables from the farm I work at here, I can hardly wait to visit the vendors again to try new things and see what else is in season!


Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro