Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2011

Ebisu Farmer's Market: Savoring the Story

Visiting farmer's markets is perhaps more important now than ever. With that in mind, I'm reposting and linking to a handful of pieces I've written about markets in and around Tokyo. Know of other markets or have an experience to share? Let me know! I'm always up for a new market to visit! Farmer's markets seem to be springing up like seeds in warm spring soil. Tokyo boasts a total of twelve, including all of Marche Japon and the Earth Day Market . Throw in smaller off-shoot markets such as Shinonome , and it becomes more than possible to find fresh food generously mixed with fun on any given weekend with a minimum amount of train-wrangling. One of the more pleasant of these is the Ebisu Market. A small market - roughly twenty vendors under half as many tents visible from the Ebisu Station Garden Walkway and at the entrance to Ebisu Garden Place - there was plenty to choose from for a weeks shopping and plenty of company, too. A certain kind of enth

Fading Cherry Blossoms

Somehow, we missed hanami - the cherry blossom season. It could have been our trip north to Niigata to Animal Garden or it could have been an assortment of other things. Regardless, the blossoms are rapidly being replaced by tiny green leaves as the days continue to warm. Now, as I pedal down the street on errands or to visit friends, a shower of pale pink petals falls through the air. Reminiscent of snow when those first flurries begin floating down to mark the beginning of that other, much colder season, these mark the beginning of that other, much hotter season. There's even a matching undercurrent of heat in the air and a change in scent that tells me Summer is awake and making her way our direction. People regularly sweep them up as they do leaves in fall, but they keep right on coming often even as the sweeper works. Half-filled bags of fading blossoms sit near doorways with the broom close at hand. As for me, I've never seen the gutters look so pretty.

Osaka Farmers Market Video

Just before we left Osaka to return home to Tokyo , we visited a farmer's market I'd heard about while we there in January. I was able to make it to three others , but since it was just after New Year's, many of the markets weren't open then. (New Year's in Japan is like Christmas in the West. Essentially, everything shuts down so people can celebrate the holiday with family and friends.) I was also eager to get back into the groove of markets here since we'd spent February in America and the earthquake and my leg injury threw off most of our other plans for March. The Odona Market did not disappoint, of course, and you can read all about my adventures there at this post at Summer Tomato . We also took this short video (my first and surely not the best you'll ever see) to offer up some of the sound and feel of the market on this early spring evening.

Gone to Seed

Technically, the winter crops should all be out of the garden and the beds prepared for the summer crops that will soon be seeded or leafed out as seedlings in a greenhouse somewhere. Well, I'm not exactly there. Some summer crops and flowers - Brandywines , morning glories , cardinal climber, cucumbers, and calendula - are sun-bathing on our balcony even as I type, and working up their strength for a summer of fun at the farm or on our back balcony as a green curtain . The beds, though, are not prepared. I struggle during each seasonal transition to remove plants from the garden that are technically still producing and healthy.The farmers encourage me to do so to ensure crops are started in a timely manner, and because they think about my garden like a miniature farm. I think about it like a garden, hence, the garden still houses a handful of winter vegetables: broccoli producing side shoots now; kale going like mad; hearty leaves of swiss chard; and mizuna and komatsuna nea

Better Late than Never: Seeds Potted Up!

Our month in America followed in short order by a strained Achilles and Soleus muscle, the earthquake , and a trip to Osaka , means I've gotten a bit behind on garden work both at the farm and on our balconies . While I've managed to get a bit of tidying done at the farm garden, there's still plenty to do: a yuzu tree that is looking to move to a larger pot with some spruced up soil empty window boxes that need to be prepped with green curtain fixings seeds that need to be started for the garden as well as the green curtain garden diagrams to be drawn up with a list of crops for this year (need to reference garden journal to make sure I get the rotation right) a compost bin to build so I can... turn over the compost in the bin Sunday's task, though, was to get some seeds started. Potted up and sun-bathing in our bay window even as I type are pots of cardinal climber, calendula, and Brandywine tomatoes . Next up will be some chili seeds my gardening partner from