Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aizu Wakamatsu Farmer's Market

A couple of weeks ago we spent a whirlwind weekend in Aizu Wakamatsu. Located in Fukushima Prefecture, the city is steeped in fascinating history and heaps of good food. Well west of the ailing nuclear power plant, the city like so many others in that prefecture, has seen a dramatic drop in domestic as well as foreign tourists due to the taint of radiation. Hoping to lift that shadow and rebuild trust with visitors far and wide, the city invited us and ten other foreigners to spend some time.

My favorite, of course, was the farmer's market. Aizu Wakamatsu is part of the bread basket that is Tohoku - the region filling the north and east of Japan's main island and where the March 11th earthquake and tsunami did the most damage - so it stood to reason there would be a market of some size somewhere in the city. A quick question at Tourist Information in the station got us a map, a location, and off we pedaled on our rented bikes.

Looking for all the world like a standard supermarket, the interior bustled with customers picking and choosing from some of the best the season had to offer as well as an assortment of traditional pickles, seven varieties of rice (polished on the spot, too!), soba in many forms, and more. I could have spent all day there, but the rest of the city beckoned. We did manage to come away with a fair number of items: brown rice, soba grain (like the buckwheat we ate in Kazakhstan), puffed soba, some groovy beans, as well as a recipe or two. I can't wait to go back.

Finally, here's the video for a quick tour. Enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tokyo's Farmer's Markets: October 29th and 30th















Temperatures are steadily dropping and with any luck you've started on your winter vegetables. (In case you haven't, here's a little primer I wrote for eco+waza reader's that should get you rolling.) Meanwhile, to watch the season's change vegetable by vegetable, check out these great markets around town!

(Today's photo of daikon thinnings comes all the way from Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture. We stopped at a market there the likes of which I've never seen before: supermarket-sized indoor vegetable and flower and local product extravaganza! It was a wee bit of heaven.)

Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30
11am to 5pm

Sunday, October 30
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in October
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
11am to 5pm

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tokyo's Farmer's Markets: October 22nd and 23rd

Chill winds and clear skies mean the cool season crops are on their way. If you don't grow your own, check out one of the wonderful regular markets happening this weekend. There's more than enough treats to be had from growers happy to share recipes, information on how to grow it yourself, or just swap stories. (Or, as in my case, patiently wade through my basic Japanese to have a chat.) It's all good!

(Today's photo is from the Ludlow Food Festival, which still makes me smile every time I think about it. We sampled some of the rhubarb-ginger liqueur from Ludlow Distillery, and my only regret is that I didn't bring a bottle home with me to Tokyo.)

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in October
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
11am to 5pm

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tokyo Farmer's Markets: October 15th and 16th















More beautiful days are afoot and that means it's high time to hit the markets. For Tokyo growers winter isn't the time to hang up the trowel. Daikon, kabu, kaki, daizu (soy beans) and an assortment of winter greens are just busting onto the scene, and they are well worth a journey by train, bicycle, or even on foot to find. If you ask me, winter is where it all happens, so head on out!

(Today's photo is another from our September trip to England. Taken at the Borough Market in London, I caught the garlic sun-bathing in the late afternoon light sneaking in under the bridge overhead.)

Sunday, October 16
11am to 5pm

Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16
11am to 5pm

Saturday, October 17
8pm - ?


Every Saturday and Sunday in October
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in October
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
11am to 5pm

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Roppongi Farmer's Market Review

It is as important for writer's to head out and experience the world as it is to stay glued to the keyboard or notebook and pen until the last word is wrung out of the story. I decided this past weekend to take the advice I'm constantly tweeting to others or mentioning in blog posts, and that is to head out and enjoy some of this amazing fall weather in the lovely environs of a farmer's market. I talked a friend into joining me and we took a journey down to the Roppongi Farmer's Market - a weekly market that often seems to have some interesting event occurring as well - to see what was happening.

Roppongi, I will admit, is an area of Tokyo I try to avoid with all my might. Nightclubs and expensive restaurants and bars are not so interesting to me these days. (Those wild days are long over, although they were undeniably fun at the time!) It's the kind of ex-pat scene that doesn't suit me, really, although I do occasionally hear of interesting things happening...like the market.

And it was amazing! An excellent selection of organic rice, vegetables and even some fruit in a market not as big as the UN University one, but also not entirely as organic and fair trade as the Earth Day Market, either. It was well worth the journey. And you can read my full review of it at Summer Tomato!

Every Saturday
10am to 2pm

Getting there:
Go to Tameike Sanno Station and head for Exit 13. As you come up the steps to street level, go straight about five minutes always keeping the double-decker highway on your right. After you cross a small "street" (really the driveway for the big hotel there) look for a set of stairs and an escalator on the left. Head up those to the courtyard there, and get ready to shop!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tokyo Farmer's Markets: October 8th and 9th















Fall is upon us, and to fully enjoy that good weather I suggest heading out to a farmer's market. (I know you're all just shocked!) There's a nice bundle of events this weekend and tables ought to be heaped full of squash, garlic, and some of those first winter greens. A trip to the UN University Market this past Saturday had my mouth watering at the sight of all those pears, apples, and some of the most amazing pickles ever. Seriously, they were so tasty!

Oh, and speaking of tasty, don't forget about C-Cafe's organic brunch this Sunday! Yummy.

(Today's photo hearkens back to a market visit in Bridgnorth. It was a lovely, lovely Saturday during our trip to England.)

Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9
Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30
11am to 5pm

Sunday, October 9
11:30am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in October
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in October
11am to 5pm

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!