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Showing posts from September, 2011

October Farmer's Markets

Where has September gone? Somewhere between Hokkaido and England the month disappeared. While I'm feeling jostled by my to-do list at the moment my great comfort is knowing that October marks the beginning of what is for me a season of favorites: squash , kaki , nashi , and a heaping variety of hearty greens are all about to make their way to the table. And that is a very, very happy thought. My stomach is growling already. Better get to a market! SUN Grocery in Shinjuku Saturday, October 1 11am to 3pm Looks like they'll have lots of garlic this month, so perhaps just follow your nose... Map Shinonome Earth Day Market Sunday, October 2 9am to 2pm Map Ebisu Market Sunday, October 2 and Sunday, October 16 11am to 5pm Map Gyre Market Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9 Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30 11am to 5pm Map Kichijoji Market Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 11am to 5pm Map C-Cafe Organic Brunch Sunday, October 9 11:30am to 2pm Access

In Terms of Vegetables: Translation Philosophy

We're back home in Tokyo and getting settled in after our trips to Hokkaido and England . Both were extraordinary adventures, but it's nice to be home again and getting into old routines. While I'm running around catching up on chores in the garden , at the farm , and here at the computer I thought I'd share a post I wrote about translation for Intralingo . Being back in Japan and relearning how to wrap my mind and tongue around the language and grammar here has me pondering the topic all over again. Language is probably the most important tool I could possess at the moment, but it can be the most difficult to wield. Sometimes it feels cumbersome and overwhelming, and to be honest there are times when I simply want to give up. But then comes a moment of revelation or learning, the spark of a new friendship, and I am motivated to pick it up, dust it off, and dig in again.

In Memory of an Ornamental Peach

Some might remember reading this past May about an extraordinary tree on the farm here in Tokyo. A bright bloomer, the ornamental peach or himomo , stopped people in their tracks as they went about daily errands. Women in kimono stopped to have their photo taken under it's branches while standing on ground sparkling with pink petals. The blossoms attracted bees galore and birds fluttered about its top regions busily chatting about the season's work ahead while we passed to and fro with seedlings and produce below. The thick and brilliant green leaves provided deep shade for the table and tent where tomatoes , green beans , eggplant, and edamame turned into little bundles to be sold at the farm stand or the local supermarket. Typhoon Roke, though, brought the beloved himomo down on Wednesday. High winds proved too much for this old friend, and she now lies stricken in front of the gate. Given our lack of space and her prone position across one of the main acce

Tokyo's Farmer's Markets: September 24th and 25th markets

It may be near the end of the month, but it's nowhere near the end of opportunities for finding some good fresh vegetables and fruit. Fall is one of the most splendid seasons for eating in Japan, if you ask me, and I can't help but encourage you to head on out to the markets and see what's on offer. And while the markets are great for learning what's in season and how to cook it, they are also fantastic places to find local craftsmen and women selling their wares! Earth Day Market Sunday, September 25th 10am to 4pm Map Roppongi Market Every Saturday in September 10am to 2pm Kinshicho Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 11am to 5pm United Nations University Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 10am to 4pm Another photo from our Hokkaido trip , but this time of dried konbu. We met the fisherman or ryoushi who harvested it (and made a mean bowl of ramen to boot!) while camping in Hamanaka. Yummier than it looks!

A View of the Wargrave Allotments

England is full of castles, assorted ruins, historic sites , cathedrals, museums , churches, and gardens. Not the least of the latter are allotment or community gardens, which I'd begun learning about via Emma Cooper's The Alternative Kitchen Garden and fantastic website . Allotments popped up almost everywhere I went, but opportunities to step inside were rare. One morning, though, before breakfast and touring I snuck over to one in the village of Wargrave for my own little sight-seeing trip. Established in 1903, this allotments patchwork of flowers and vegetables plots made a feast for the eyes of color and texture, and looked as lovely as any formal garden might. Opening the massive metal gate and venturing up a brick-lined lane an old apple tree stood sentry as much as greeter. The fruit that didn't prove a mild tripping hazard made a tart snack while exploring. A bulletin board sported posters for classes, meetings, and garden workdays along with a ste

Daniel's Mill: Whole Wheat Flour Like They Used to Make

This trip to England has been full of little day trips as well as a very nice handful of wanderings on local footpaths . One of these took us not too far down the road to a place called Daniel's Mill . Located just on the outskirts of Bridgnorth and almost directly under one of the trestle's for the Severn Valley Railway, the white building housing the equipment and accompanying water wheel make for a picturesque view at the very least and a bag of lovely freshly ground whole wheat flour at the most. Managed by the George family for more than 240 years (a fraction of the history of a site where a mill has operated since the 13th century), our tour inevitably combined family history with that of the mill and its workings. Peter George, our guide and a current operator/owner, brought his ancestors to life for us - vividly describing personalities and appearances - while walking us through the building and teaching us how grain gets made into flour. George drew us

Squash Trellis: Updated!

Trellis' seem to be a favorite topic of gardeners as the search for space to grow just one more thing continues. Farmers and growers in Japan and Tokyo have pondered the same question for generations. Here's one of the solutions spotted at a nearby farm. As a self-confessed vegetable geek who helps at an organic farm in Tokyo and has a garden , I still get an irresistible urge periodically to head out to the local vegetable stands to see what's on offer. Inevitably a good deal, I usually come away with a little Japanese practice, a recipe, and sometimes a new vegetable. The other day I came away with a new idea. Reminiscent of the kiwi carport , this squash trellis is my new favorite find. (OK, it's not really a new idea, but it's the biggest trellis of its kind that I've ever seen and not uncommon on local farms.) Full green leaves fluttered along strong vines sporting not just the usual showy squash blossom but lovely, lovely squash in various stages

London's Garden Museum

While staying in London on this trip to England I had the great pleasure to visit The Garden Museum . One bridge over from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the museum is a little green treasure. Dedicated to the history of gardening n England, it is utterly satisfying despite being such a small thing tackling such a large subject. In my few hours there, whole new worlds opened up and I found it rather challenging to leave even after I'd seen everything, eaten at the cafe, and done a bit of shopping. The permanent collection includes a variety of items ranging from a catalog of John Tradescant the Elder's amazing collection of flora discovered while traveling in pursuit of new specimen's for his employers to a thumb pot (a watering can that released water only when the thumb is removed from the top) to an early lawn mower to a seed dispensing machine. Joining these items are an assortment of drawings and paintings of gardens and gardeners, tools for the w

Satoyama: Japan's Sustainable Farming Philosophy

Roaming the hills and byways of Shropshire these past weeks means steeping myself in one of England's loveliest areas. Full of farms and fields outlined with deep green hedges and dark stone walls and dotted with sheep and hay bales it's easy to see how something like the Ludlow Food Festival could bloom here. And it's got me thinking about all things agricultural, especially as an article I recently wrote about satoyama , a traditional Japanese farming practice, for Eco+ Waza is still rolling through my mind. The slightly wild edge of well-ordered fields, satoyama is often thought of as a managed forest ring around farm fields. Trees would be harvested for fuel as well as construction, while wild animals also used it as a food and shelter source. It would have been carefully used as a kind of common space by everyone in the village, but always with an eye out for avoiding overuse. Destruction of even one part of the system would mean a collapse of the wh

C-Cafe's September Organic Buffet

Just in case folks are looking for something a little unique to do this weekend, I'd like to suggest C- Cafe's Sunday Organic Buffet . It's all-you-can-eat all-organic all-local food for the lovely price of 1,000yen, and I promise you won't be disappointed. Feast on seasonal dishes of extraordinary flavor and creativeness, and please don't forget to try the curry. It's seriously one of the most wonderful things I've ever eaten, and that includes my mother's meatloaf as well as her coffeecake . I'd also recommend wearing something with a comfortable waistband. It's that good. Mitaka's C-Cafe Sunday, September 18 th 11:30am - 2pm 1,000 yen Access Information Photo Note: A close-up of Silent Cafe's banana milk and perfectly sweet cookies. More yumminess !

Tokyo Farmer's Markets: September 17th and 18th

A little more action in terms of farmer's markets this weekend! Grab a shopping bag and head on out to explore the city and get some good fresh vegetables. Remember, too, that markets are a fun place to take visitors whether from abroad or just another city in Japan. The UN University Night Market is an especially unique outing, and Kichijoji in general never disappoints. Kichijoji Market Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th 11am to 5pm Map United Nations University Night Market Saturday, September 17th - until 8pm! Roppongi Market Every Saturday in September 10am to 2pm Kinshicho Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 11am to 5pm United Nations University Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 10am to 4pm This week's photo is from our visit to Nemuro in Hokkaido . A community gathering to remember the loss of the Kuril Islands after the war and the struggle to get them back from Russia sported some local food a

Footpath Harvest

Confession: I'm cheating a bit here, and back-dating this post. We've been having such a great time exploring England - London to Shropshire to Herefordshire - that I've got more than enough to write about and not enough days to do it in. And I still have some great spots to share that we visited during our bike tour in Hokkaido. Such a difficult life I lead... England, thankfully, is riddled with footpaths. These ancient rite-of-ways, as a good friend called them during a recent outing, are a real treasure. Not only do they afford a fantastic way to explore the countryside as well as a handy shortcut through the village, but this time of year they overflow with damson plums, black raspberries, sloes, as well as an assortment of apples and pears. So far we've made two fruit crumbles, a.k.a. fruit crisps - one with red and green plums as well as apples, and one with just apples - with another on the menu for tonight. (I think we'll give damsons a go in

Guest Post: Kris Bordessa's Chorizo-Tortilla Soup

I 'met' Kris Bordessa during the 2011 Blogathon this past May. Discovering other bloggers and new blogs, is one of the great pleasures of participating in events like the Blogathon , and Attainable Sustainable is no exception. Following is a guest post from Kris detailing one of her yummy recipes. Enjoy! (Photo of an assortment of peppers we grew on the farm last year as an experiment. Hot times, indeed!) When people think about Hawaii, they generally imagine warm, palm lined beaches with an ‘ ukulele playing Hawaiian music in the background. (Right?) But that’s not always the case. I live at the 1,000-foot elevation where it’s lush and green and mild. But this summer has been unseasonably wet and cool. In spite of our tropical location, I find myself serving soup a couple of times a week. One of our favorites is a spicy soup with a Mexican flair. It’s easy to put together (especially if you have a food processor for chopping the vegetables) a

Ludlow Food Festival: Still Full Two Days Later

Good friends of ours took us to one of their favorite local events this past weekend: the Ludlow Food Festiva l. In it's 17th year, the festival takes place inside as well as outside Ludlow Castle grounds, and showcases a huge variety of foods all produced locally. Foodie or local food enthusiast or farmer this festival is testimony to how much great food can come from one region. I was stunned, stuffed, and thrilled to have been able to attend. When we next come to the festival, it will be for all three days. And with a planned exercise regime. I believe I gained three pounds in cheese samples alone. It is also testimony (any one in Detroit reading?) what an economic engine food can be. While these folks won't get super rich, they can support themselves doing something they love. As a community development geek with vegetables at heart , it was inspiring to see how one town built on an agricultural and food heritage (and a very nice castle ruin) to become a buzzi

Serving Up Purple Carrot Greens: Reprise

When I first published this post last year I blithely commented that the next time I visited England I'd visit the carrot museum. Well, as this goes up I'm trotting about that fair isle, but since realized it's digital! (Mild embarrassment there.) All of that aside, this is a recipe I regularly serve and savor. It's so satisfying to use the whole plant, even though I don't mind turning things over to my friends in the compost bin . Munch away! A friend once observed that I have an almost absurd penchant for purple vegetables. Purple cabbage is (or at least was in America) a regular ingredient in our salads . Beets are a favorite in any way, shape, or form, although beet caviar remains my favorite version. Purple basil - also known as Opal - has found it's way into my garden or flowerpots regularly, and the purple bloom of bergamont is rather tasty, too. So, it's no surprise that on a visit to the Ebisu Farmer's Market when I spotted a display of p

London's Borough Market: A Quick Visit

Any vacation of mine is surely going to include vegetables and a trip to a food market of some kind. Matron from Down at the Allotment tipped me off to London's Borough Market, a bustling market place near the heart of the city that brims with vendors, vegetables, and treats of all kinds. Despite a short and fast visit, I managed to come away with the usual armload of bags of scrumptious things. Here are a few of the highlights. Heirloom apples and tomatoes. I'd not forgotten about tomatoes , of course, but I had somehow forgotten the signature taste of apples in fall. Japanese apples tend to be monster fruits with pretty good flavor, but those I've had so far don't compare remotely even to the windfalls from a house down the road from where we are staying. A variety of flavors and textures and colors all remind me of the season I am enjoying this very moment. French breakfast radishes. I have read any number of blog posts and articles about this litt

Tokyo Farmer's Markets: September 10th and 11th markets

The first week of September was chock full of markets, and this weekend feels a bit slower. My advice would be to check the status of the Ebisu Market , too. It may have cropped up on the calendar since this post was scheduled. That's always a fun one in a nifty part of town. Otherwise, head on out to explore and see what vegetable adventures there are to be had! Roppongi Market Every Saturday in September 10am to 2pm Kinshicho Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 11am to 5pm United Nations University Market Every Saturday and Sunday in September 10am to 4pm Today's photo is from our trip to the Fuji Five Lakes in July, and has my mouth watering at the memory of those lovely peaches. Wasteful as they are, I do find their little styrofoam sweaters rather cute, too.

Maan's Beans: Tomatoes and Green Beans Meet Garlic

While I'm on vacation for a bit - England rather than Hokkaido this time - I'm bringing forward posts that readers seem to head for most often. This one , it is no surprise, is a regular favorite. The dish, lab-man in Lebanese, is a favorite of mine and is truly as much a taste of home as my mother's meatloaf . There's a fair amount of olive oil, but it's well-balanced by the feast of garlic that goes with it. Enjoy! Our neighbors, Sybil and Maan, are famous for their food. One cannot enter their home without finding a dish of tasty nuts, a warm bowl of soup, or a plate of hummus and tabbouleh. Their annual lamb roast is an event we scheduled our Michigan lives around, and a dinner invitation is never declined. (They are also incredible company, so it's not just the food we go for.) The best is when Maan lets you help make the dish of the day. My favorite memories undoubtedly include watching my olive oil soaked hands disappear into

September Farmer's Markets

September promises (maybe) cooler temperatures and a gradual switch from summer produce to fall favorites. I can almost taste those first leaves of komatsuna, karashina, and arugula now...but I'm getting ahead of myself. As always, there's more good farmer's market opportunities in Tokyo than one might have ever imagined possible in this megalopolis. Markets here, just as they are anywhere else in the world, are a great chance to explore , meet people , practice language, and create little bits of community while talking food. Sounds like heaven to me. Sun Grocery in Shinjuku Saturday, September 3rd Still no time listed, but I'd bet on 11am to 3pm. Map Nishi Sugami Earthday Market Sunday, September 4th 12pm to 5pm Map A new one for me, but I imagine it to be something like the Shinonome Market : small but good. Kichijoji Market Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th 11am to 5pm Map United Nations University Night Market