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Showing posts from March, 2012

Tokyo Farmer's Markets: April

April seems to be arriving in a flurry of sunshine and steadily increasing temperatures. For a Midwestern girl like me it's odd to see so many things in bloom already and feel that undercurrent of warm air as I work in the fields at the farm. Strange, too, to see how the schedule there gets busier and busier as we prepare for an assortment of summer crops. Didn't we just put in the komatsuna? Ah, well. So it goes. Get out and have a good wander around to enjoy those first hints of Spring! Photo Note: A farmer from Aizu Wakamatsu , Takako Kimura sells her lovely vegetables at the Nippori Market. Her energy, enthusiasm and good cheer seems to be in every bit of the nannohanna we brought home with us. I'm looking forward to meeting her again this month! Earth Day Market Sunday, April 1 (No fooling!) I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and se

Tokyo Farmer's Markets March 24th and 25th

Spring is most definitely in the air, and at the Earth Day Market in Kichijoji in March I spotted my first nanohana - flowering greens that like takenoko are one of spring's distinctive flavors - along with sprouting rhubarb , tulips, and crocus in my garden so it must be on its way. And the Nippori Farmer's Market this past weekend was much the same despite chill winds, a smattering of rain, and cloudy weather. It seems to me that if you're hankering for a taste of Spring in any way a farmer's market might just be the place to find it! Photo Note: Tatsuko Onaya took a break from serving up her most amazingly scrumptious manju (savory as well as sweet - bless her heart) at the Nippori Farmer's Market this last Sunday for a quick photo.  Gyre Market Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 A gem of a market hidden away in one of Tokyo's high-end shopping districts offering seasonal favorites in a way that feels homey yet rather boutique-y. 11am to

Nippori Farmer's Market: A Little Market Only by Some Standards

Nippori Farmer's Market aerial view This past Sunday took us down into an old heart of Tokyo, near Yanaka and its magnificent gardens to visit a new farmer's market. It's an area where we often take guests because it feels old (it is) that results in a certain charm that can't be found anywhere else. Old wooden houses dot narrow lanes near some of the loveliest temples and shrines I've visited yet (including those in Kyoto, Nara, and Nikko.) So, despite chilly weather that threatened rain we sallied forth with umbrellas and waterproof shopping bags to see what we could find. Onaya-san's scrumptious manju   The Nippori Farmer's Market is what I would call “off-the-grid.” It's not part of the larger Marche Japon gig or the all-organic Earth Day Markets series , but rather is the brainchild of the owner of a nearby mansion (condominium) owner who wanted to “do something nice” wi

Tokyo Farmer's Markets March 17th and 18th

Makinonouen heirloom daizu Bright skies mixed with the occasional rain shower mean spring, of course. The ume blossoms are running late this year, and their bright colors and soft scent are inspiration enough to head on out to one of the great markets listed below. I'd also like to point out the addition of a new one - the Nippori Farmer's Market - that promises to be a dandy. I'll be there on Sunday to investigate, enjoy the taiko performance, and hopefully venture home with a new recipe or two to try! Ebisu Market Sunday, March 4 and Sunday, March 18 11am to 5pm A nice sized market held on the terrace just in front of Ebisu Garden Place that will always be special to me for introducing me to dried natto and  tea seedpods . Ma p Kichijoji Market A terrific two days of seasonal vegetables, fruits, homemade treats, and even some fun activities for those whipper-snappers! Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18 10am to 5pm Map Nippori Farmer's M

Nippori Farmer's Market: Another New Market in Tokyo

Word from Martin Frid, my friend and fellow blogger over at Kurashi , is that Nippori is home to a swell little market. Vendors come from Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture (all products tested before selling - don't be afraid to ask!) and the Tokyo-area to offer delectable herbs, vegetables, fruits, and other wonderful delights. Martin also mentioned that folks can bring produce or even soil they wish to have tested for cesium  in a machine specifically for this purpose. I'm quite excited to add this one to the monthly calendar of farmer's markets , and plan to be there this weekend to check it out for myself. There's even a taiko performance, to boot! Nippori Farmer's Market Sunday, March 18th 10am to 5pm Map - No map yet, but coming soon! Directions: East exit of the Nippori station and look for happy people selling vegetables! Photo Note: These bright lovelies can be found at Koganeya, n little antenna shop just out the south exit

Tokyo Farmer's Markets March 10th and 11th

Always a time of transition, March this year is particularly poignant for Japan. This Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the earthquake that shook the country to its core. The last year saw calls for conservation , high levels of concern regarding radiation contamination , the search for alternative energy, and continuous efforts to help our northern neighbors as they strive to rebuild their lives safely and sustainably. Shopping at a farmer's market may seem trite, but it supports growers and producers, especially those from Tohoku, that rebuilds businesses, economies, and confidence. These markets aren't just about vegetables or grains or miso or handwoven hats. Rather, they are about building community, showing a neighbor you believe enough in what they do to exchange hard-earned money for a freshly picked daikon, a beautiful bunch of komatsuna, or an interesting flavor of jam. The earthquake may be one year behind us, but our need for each other is ever present.

Kichijoji Earth Day Market: A New Sweet Spot for Vegetable Fun

Kichijoji's March Earth Day Market bustles! There's a new market in town, and let's just say I'm excited. The Earth Day Market , held monthly over in Yoyogi Park, is one of my favorites, and so when the market manager, Tomiyama-san, told me a 'branch' market was starting up in Kichijoji I was thrilled. The Earth Day Market is all organic, all fair trade, all the time, and the only downside is that it is once a month. So yesterday, two days returned from our month in America, we battled jet lag and biked on over to check out the new market. There at the western end of the park we found a bundle of vendors braving the chill of a  cloudy Sunday to greet customers with their usual selection of good food and sustainable products. BioFarm's most yummy roasted potatoes. Many of our usual favorite vendors were there - Cocira  with her most excellent bamboo charcoal cleaning product, BioFarm  with the usual selection of beauti

Tokyo's March Farmer's Markets

March in Tokyo holds all the promise of spring tucked in and around the bluster of winter winds. Like elsewhere, all four seasons seem to be present this month in bloom , fruit , and vegetable . One of the best ways to savor the last tastes of winter and satisfy the anticipation of spring flavors is a visit to one of the many local farmers markets around the city. There are heaps all month long and often on both Saturday and Sunday. Plenty of opportunity to get out and explore and find a new favorite taste! Moments of note this month are the double-whammy for Gyre Market, and the Earth Day Market in Kichijojji! So many vegetables, so little time... Photo Note: Kimiko Matsubara of Cocoi with some of her nifty environmentally friendly cleaning products at the Earth Day Market in January. SUN Grocery in Shinjuku Saturday, March 3 11am to 3pm A once-a-month outreach effort by the students running a neighborhood grocery featuring fruits and vegetables from independent farm