|Kamakura Farmers Market entrance|
|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 warehouse where a slightly senile sign collector resides. Having a neighbor like Patagonia on one side only further enhances its eccentric qualities, but those interested in vegetables, good traditional food, and a look at locals doing what they do best - producing whole foods your taste buds don't even know they fancy yet - should not be deterred.
The market is an outlet for a locally created brand - Kamakura Brand - of traditional vegetables and goods that is complete separate from Japan Agriculture (JA) and well-regarded for its high quality. It is also well-stocked with farmers. Four different groups come to the market on a rotating schedule that roughly averages out to just about every four days. (Hint: If you find someone you like, find out when they will be back again.) Each grower brings in the fruit of their fields harvested that morning or shortly before as it comes into season.
Our visit on a grey Sunday meant slightly lower numbers of vendors, but it also meant a better opportunity to chat and peruse. Plenty of local shoppers seemed also to be on hand talking with the farmers while picking up a few things. Tourists, like our little group of four, ventured in tentative at first but were soon emboldened by friendly farmers, reasonable prices, and the occasional new vegetable. (One women I heard chatting with a farmer had never seen daikon thinnings before, and was grilling the grower on preparation specifics.) As I waited to purchase a purple basil seedling (I have mentioned my penchant for purple before.) and listened to their conversation, another group of ten were towed past by their clipboard endowed guide.
"Ito Yokado has no face. This vegetable," he said picking up a yellow salad squash from the table, "is my face."
I bought one on the spot as any grower with that much belief in his work and land must be producing something worth supporting. A new ingredient for our salad seemed like the least I could do.
Kamakura Farmers Market
10am - 5pm*
*No official hours are posted, but these ought to be a safe bet.