Skip to main content

Size Doesn't Matter: Shinonome's Earth Day Market More Than Satisfies

This post first appeared at Greenz on October 25, 2010,and I've added a few links here and there to recipes or updated information. The Shinonome Market is being held again on Saturday, July 9th, and is just one of the many markets happening this month. This ought to whet the appetites of market goers but good!

The Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park is one of the monthly food events not to be missed if one is a fan of local, organic food. Fresh vegetables, amazing baked goods, tasty jams, miso, rice, and so much than one good sentence can hold can be found there. Yet, there are times when a vegetable adventure is also in order. This time we grabbed our shopping list and headed out to Shinonome's little Earth Day Market. Snuggled at the base of an amazing conglomeration of looming apartment buildings between the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Big Sight, the tiny market did not disappoint.

Ducking under the signature blue and white banner we found six vendors (usually there are ten but inclement weather lowered numbers a bit) offering all a shopping locavore might want - seasonal fruits and vegetables, rice, miso, and jams - for at least a week's eating. (Or less, depending on one's appetite.) Winter squash, herbs like shiso and lemon grass shared table space with green yuzu, honey, homemade umeboshi, miso, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum greens), and a bundle of others.

Perhaps my favorite discovery - other than a recipe for yuzukosho combining green yuzu and hot peppers - were natsume. These tiny oblong fruit with the taste and texture of apples are the fruit of the camphor tree. Utterly delightful, I have no idea what to do with them except chomp on them (watch for seeds!) and savor the flavor of one of the more unique fruits I've met yet.

Tucked in my bag at the end of the day were a handful of Shizennouen's shungiku along with half a dozen eggs from Miyamotoyama Farm, some green yuzu and a small bundle of lemon grass. I managed somehow or another to resist Totokawa's brilliant jams, but I'm regretting it a bit now. The peach still calls to me and the October market in Yoyogi may be a destination yet!


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

Kamakura Farmers Market: Giant Buddhas and Good Vegetables

Kamakura Farmers Market entrance A little more than an hour train ride south of Tokyo sits Kamakura. Like Kyoto and Nara, Kamakura is a former capital full to the brim with temples, shrines, and a bounty of historical sites lining its winding streets. Nestled in a cozy bay with beaches and a giant Buddha tucked amongst the rest, it's a city that invites multiple visits if not at least one. And those seeking a farmers market well-stocked with traditional vegetables, skilled growers ready to share recipes and chat about their wares, along with some nifty prepared foods to rejuvenate themselves after so many temples surely won't be disappointed, either. Kamakura Farmers Market - right side full of signs Started nearly twenty years ago, the Kamakura Farmers Market or Kamakurasui Nyogyou Rensokubaijo, runs seven days a week nearly year-round. A ten-minute walk from the station, the market is located in what at first glance looks like nothing so much as a run-down w

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