Friday, November 30, 2012

December Farmers Markets

Kosuke Yamaki and family at Tokyo's
Earth Day Farmers Market.
Cold temperatures have settled in and there's frost at the farm every morning now. Out and about at farmers markets around town the winter harvest is in full swing with a full selection of greens, daikons (yup, there's more than one kind of giant white radish to be had!), kabus, and more. The Earth Day Market last month featured crisp apples, pears, kaki (persimmon), and some of the sweetest mikan to be found. Don't miss the chance to find good food to share with friends as gifts or at the table. There's no better way to end the year (or start the new one, for that matter) than with something delightful for the taste bud and tummy.

**Do note, though, that the schedule this month may be a bit tricky given the upcoming holidays. Monthly markets are happening a bit earlier while weekly markets stop running about a week before the New Year until about a week after.

Saturday, November 3rd
11am to 3pm
A once-a-month outreach effort by the students running a neighborhood grocery featuring fruits and vegetables from independent farmers.
Sunday, December 2nd
Sunday, December 16th
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.
Saturday,  December 8th and Sunday, December 9th
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 5pm

Nippori Farmer's Market
Sunday, December 9th
10am to 5pm
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. My first visit was wonderful despite cold temperatures and a smattering of rain. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, December 15th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Saturday, December 15th
A unique event in the heart of the city that a vegetable loving geek like me wouldn't miss for the world. What better way to get the healthy vitamins and minerals you need to sustain an evening of karaoke and izakaya hopping?
5pm - 8pm

Kichijoji Market
Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th
A terrific two days of seasonal vegetables, fruits, homemade treats, and even some fun activities for those whipper-snappers!
10am to 5pm
Map

Sunday, December 16th
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 see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing.
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!

Every Saturday and Sunday until December 23rd
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, the curry I had during my last visit from one of the vendors was plate-licking good. (I refrained, but only just.)
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday until December 22nd
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday until December 23rd
Another nice market not far from the sumo stadium in Ryogoku it's worth casing out for the neighborhood as well as the vendors.
11am to 5pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday until December 23rd
Another great market somewhere in size between Kichijoji and the United Nation's University Farmer's Market, it often features from a particular growing region as well as heaps of farmers and producers from nearby Chiba and Saitama, too.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of the station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

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



Monday, November 26, 2012

Oxfam Presentation and Earth Day Market Tour Fun

A glorious November Earth Day Farmers Market in Yoyogi.
This past weekend found me talking to folks at Oxfam Japan's monthly educational session about farmers markets and why I think they're worth the effort. Since I can't help but chat a bit even while I'm meant to be all official and everything, we ended up having some really nice conversations about food, memory, family history, and farming. Nearly everyone decided to join me the next day for a visit to the Earth Day Farmers Market in Yoyogi.

The whole gang ready to discover new food and fun!
Hello, apples.
Sunday bloomed beautifully sunny with just the right of amount of cold in the air as we headed over to the stalls set up under the elms. Verdant winter greens, carrots of all colors, jams galore (a personal favorite), apples, pears, mikan, daikon, kabu, honey, and more greeted us.

Winter vegetable sampler

Steaming amezake



Welcoming samples of grilled mochi and cups of hot amezake (A sweet, hot winter beverage made from sake leavings; the bottom of the barrel never tasted so good!) helped us along, and shopping bags gradually began to fill. Cautious at first, my new friends found the prices quite reasonable, the atmosphere awesome, and the selection good. I overheard more than one conversation about what to cook that night and this week. I believe I've created a new bundle of regulars to this lovely little market, and that is the best harvest ever.
Enjoying miso onigiri.
A young shopper at work.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tokyo Farmers Markets November 24th and 25th



Ishizaki-san at Hamamatsu Organic Farmers Market

Temperatures are dropping and Fuji-san has plenty of snow on his shoulders already. It's a great time of year to head on out to the markets and gather up an assortment of seasonal goodies for eating. Newly harvested rice, mabiki, early greens, a few last eggplants, and a whole bounty of other goodies to warm body and soul as winter approaches!

Saturday, November 24th and Sunday, November 25th
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 5pm

Sunday, November 25th
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 see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing.
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, the curry I had during my last visit from one of the vendors was plate-licking good. (I refrained, but only just.)
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in November
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another nice market not far from the sumo stadium in Ryogoku it's worth casing out for the neighborhood as well as the vendors.
11am to 5pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another great market somewhere in size between Kichijoji and the United Nation's University Farmer's Market, it often features from a particular growing region as well as heaps of farmers and producers from nearby Chiba and Saitama, too.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of the station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oxfam Presentation and Earth Day Market Tour this Weekend!

Heirloom kabu at the Earth Day Market!
Just a quick reminder that this weekend I'll be giving a talk about farmers markets and why they're such a great idea for farmers as well as those who like to eat. The Saturday workshop will be informative, fun, and interactive, and the Sunday visit to the Earth Day Market will be all of that and more.

Note: The Oxfam International Volunteer Group events page is suffering some technical difficulties at the moment. If you're interested in coming, please leave a comment here with your email and I'll get you registered.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Oxfam International Volunteer Group Awareness Workshop: Why Farmers Markets Matter
Saturday, November 24th
2pm to 4pm
National Olympics Memorial Youth Centre, Central Building, Room #108
1,000 yen (all proceeds to Oxfam!)

Earth Day Farmers Market Tour
Sunday, November 25th
10am to 12pm
Meet on the bridge to Meiji Shrine near Harajuku Station. I'll be the tall woman with glasses and a red umbrella.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tokyo Farmers Markets November 17th and 18th

Makiko, intern at Hikari Noen, wears a tsurukubi squash.
The middle of the month always brings a bounty of farmers markets full of the best the season has to offer. This time of year visitors should start looking for the first yuzu for marmalade or shu making, early winter greens like komatsuna and karashina, mabiki (daikon thinnings), sweet potatoes, mukago (satoimo seed potatoes), and so much more. Heavens, I'm already hungry. See you there!

Sunday, November 18th
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.

Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th
10am to 5pm
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. My first visit was wonderful despite cold temperatures and a smattering of rain. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!

Saturday, November 17th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I
found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm

Saturday, November 17th
A unique event in the heart of the city that a vegetable loving geek like me wouldn't miss for the world. What better way to get the healthy vitamins and minerals you need to sustain an evening of karaoke and izakaya hopping?
5pm - 8pm

Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th
A terrific two days of seasonal vegetables, fruits, homemade treats, and even some fun activities for those whipper-snappers!
10am to 5pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, the curry I had during my last visit from one of the vendors was plate-licking good. (I refrained, but only just.)
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in November
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another nice market not far from the sumo stadium in Ryogoku it's worth casing out for the neighborhood as well as the vendors.
11am to 5pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another great market somewhere in size between Kichijoji and the United Nation's University Farmer's Market, it often features from a particular growing region as well as heaps of farmers and producers from nearby Chiba and Saitama, too.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of the station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nara Organic Farmers Market Review Up at Japan Tourist!

Loving the Nara Organic Farmers Market!
Autumn is a wonderful time to head to Kyoto and Nara to take in the sites in their coats of colorful leaves. We were just there two weeks ago with my mother-in-law and all three of us fell in love with both cities all over again. One of the best parts of Nara, though, other than the giant Buddha and Nigatsu-do, is the organic farmers market. A monthly event quite similar to Tokyo's Earth Day Market (the managers know each other), the Nara market is smaller but just as bounteous. It's a nice change from temple viewing, and it gives tourists a welcome opportunity to momentarily step off that beaten path of monumental buildings and historic sites. The free samples alone make it worth a stop.

Check out the article over at Japan Tourist, and add it to the list of things to see and do when in the neighborhood!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Japan Farmers Markets Presenting at Oxfam Japan This Month!

A typical swingin' Earth Day Market in Tokyo!
Oxfam Japan and the Oxfam International Volunteer Group put on an awareness-raising event each month in an effort to let folks know what is happening globally and locally around an issue of import. Inspired by the global organization's GROW Campaign (check out the report on their findings thus far) the November event will be all about farmers markets.

Yours truly will be speaking about why farmers markets matter to producers and consumers of food, rural economies and communities, and more. The following day I'll be taking interested folks around to the Earth Day Farmers Market in Yoyogi to meet some farmers, producers, and new vegetables. Come join in the fun!*

*The events page appears to be troubled at the moment, so just drop me a note in the comments below or via Twitter and I'll get you registered.

Oxfam International Volunteer Group Awareness Workshop: Why Farmers Markets Matter
Saturday, November 24th
2pm to 4pm
National Olympics Memorial Youth Centre, Central Building, Room #108
1,000 yen (all proceeds to Oxfam!)

Earth Day Farmers Market Tour
Sunday, November 25th
10am to 12pm
Meet on the bridge to Meiji Shrine near Harajuku Station.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tokyo Farmers Markets: November 10th and 11th

Ishida-san and his daughter at the Hamamatsu
Organic Farmers Market.
Oh, the days are simply glorious just now. So much sunshine and blue sky I can barely stand sitting at my desk to write. Thank heavens for the farm, the garden, and all these farmers markets to haul me out of my chair and into the light. I'll be filling my bags this weekend with goodly amounts of genmai (brown rice), red and black rice, millet, whole soba grains, hatomugi (Job's tears), and all the other fixings I toss in to cook with our rice. And just think of all those chestnuts in season now simply waiting to be made into something scrumptious. It does make for a heavy bag, but I think of it as weight training with a vegetable bonus.

Saturday,  November 10th and Sunday, November 11th
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 5pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, the curry I had during my last visit from one of the vendors was plate-licking good. (I refrained, but only just.)
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in November
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another nice market not far from the sumo stadium in Ryogoku it's worth casing out for the neighborhood as well as the vendors.
11am to 5pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another great market somewhere in size between Kichijoji and the United Nation's University Farmer's Market, it often features from a particular growing region as well as heaps of farmers and producers from nearby Chiba and Saitama, too.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of the station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Autumn Thoughts: Momiji's Annual March

Autumn leaves at Nikko.
While I've said time and time again how much I love winter ( and it's accompanying vegetables) autumn also holds an undeniable charm. My recent guest post for Dona Bumgarner shares some of the pleasures of the season here in Japan, although I should have added a note about the joy of sweet potatoes, too.

Go have a read, then step outside to soak up some of these extraordinary moments brought to you by Nature. Go a little Japanese while you're at it: lay a tarp on the ground, set out a beverage of choice, a seasonal snack or two, and settle in with friends.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Growing Winter Vegetables at Home

Young radish in the November sun.
Winter in my native American Midwest is when the garden is but a seed-catalog fed fantasy. Autumn is when the garlic gets tucked in, manure and straw loaded on the beds, and I head in for the first in a long series of cups of tea. And a nip or two of homemade wine crafted by good friends.

Here in Tokyo, though, it's a different story. Farmers here tuck nothing in except another bunch of seeds in their pockets and head on out to the fields once more. Manure and various other items - nuka (rice bran), momigara (rice hulls), and good old-fashioned compost - get flopped on the soil, tilled in, covered with mulch, and a fresh round of vegetables go in the ground.

As much as I long for the days of looking out at a snow-covered garden from a wood-stove warmed home with a knitting project and cat on my lap simultaneously, I'm also grateful for these winter crops. As I've said time and time again, they are easily my favorite part of the Japanese fresh vegetable menu. So green, flavorful, lush, and cheerful, my salads are no longer complete without them. Thankfully, too, my kale grows apace during these months, so I get a bit of the best of both worlds.

But I digress. You don't need to have fields of your own or even a plot of ground to start enjoying your own winter vegetables. Peruse the seed packets, fill a pot, put it in a sunny spot, give it a bit of covering from the worst of the cold, and you can start tasting the joy of the season. Bon appetit!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Farmers Markets


Ishizaki-san at Hamamatsu Organic Farmers Market
Temperatures are dropping and Fuji-san has plenty of snow on his shoulders already. It's a great time of year to head on out to the markets and gather up an assortment of seasonal goodies for eating. Newly harvested rice, mabiki, early greens, a few last eggplants, and a whole bounty of other goodies to warm body and soul as winter approaches!

SUN Grocery in Shinjuku
Saturday, November 3rd
11am to 3pm
A once-a-month outreach effort by the students running a neighborhood grocery featuring fruits and vegetables from independent farmers.
Sunday, November 4th
Sunday, November 18th
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.
Saturday,  November 10th and Sunday, November 11th
Saturday, November 24th and Sunday, November 25th
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 5pm

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th
10am to 5pm
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. My first visit was wonderful despite cold temperatures and a smattering of rain. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 17th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Saturday, November 17th
A unique event in the heart of the city that a vegetable loving geek like me wouldn't miss for the world. What better way to get the healthy vitamins and minerals you need to sustain an evening of karaoke and izakaya hopping?
5pm - 8pm

Kichijoji Market
Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th
A terrific two days of seasonal vegetables, fruits, homemade treats, and even some fun activities for those whipper-snappers!
10am to 5pm
Map


Sunday, November 25th
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 see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing.
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, the curry I had during my last visit from one of the vendors was plate-licking good. (I refrained, but only just.)
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday in November
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another nice market not far from the sumo stadium in Ryogoku it's worth casing out for the neighborhood as well as the vendors.
11am to 5pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday in November
Another great market somewhere in size between Kichijoji and the United Nation's University Farmer's Market, it often features from a particular growing region as well as heaps of farmers and producers from nearby Chiba and Saitama, too.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of the station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

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